Can the coffee aroma trigger memories and emotions of lived experiences? Neuroscience also confirms that smell is one of the most powerful senses.
Vacations are awesome. They’re also beneficial allowing you to restore energy reserves, boost happiness and calm your mind.
You know what’s not awesome? Trying to maintain the zone after returning from vacation since all time off must come to an end.
The comeback to reality is difficult
When the much anticipated holidays are over, the routine of daily life begins again and every happy thought seems lost and for many workers it can become the most critical period of the year.
“Post-vacation blues” is the name of that strange feeling that assails those who start working again after the holidays. It’s not a subjective condition because 1 person in 10 seems to suffer from it.
The stress syndrome after returning from vacation does not manifest itself only on an emotional level (apathy, restlessness, boredom, sense of dissatisfaction, sadness, moodiness) but can give real psycho-physical disorders (difficulty in concentration, loss of appetite, digestive difficulties, fatigue, physical weakness, insomnia, headache, dizziness and even cold, cough and muscle pain). In short, our whole body rebels against returning to the normal and above all to the abrupt recovery of the usual rhythms.
A tragedy if you think that holidays should be used to switch off and above all to recharge your batteries.
The cause? Not the thought of work and responsibilities but more than anything else an actual difficulty to move from days when time and deadlines seem to flow more “naturally” than the alarm clock and busy working days.
What to do then? It’s best to take a buffer day and don’t go straight back to work. Give yourself a day or two to relax, catch up on some sleep and recover from jetlag. Use this time to unpack, do laundry and go grocery shopping. In this way, body and mind will be able to gradually get used to the new situation, ease back into your routine (our bodies and minds love daily habits) and to face it with full energy.
Stress is a natural response of our body to a situation of sudden change. We cannot completely avoid it but at least limit its damage.
In any case, by resuming routine and daily commitments gradually, we extend the holiday feeling for a while longer. With comfortable clothing make time for refreshing exercise or simply enjoy the hours of sunshine as it’s essential to adjust the biological clock to the new hours. Be calm and pamper yourself as you did on vacation with the luxury of a pizza or a dinner out, fresh food or just a carefully prepared breakfast and a good coffee.
It takes happy thoughts…
The antidote to boredom and tiredness is not sleeping or lounging in front of the TV but taking action!
Visiting friends, going out to a concert, taking the children to the pool or simply going to the movies works wonders as does planning a new journey which can help us feel better, make the transition from relaxation to hectic everyday life less traumatic and get back in the workflow in no time.
Even though you just got back to the daily grind, planning your next getaway is a proven way to keep you focused and motivated. Get some fresh ideas and begin thinking and planning because anticipating travel can be the happiest part of the journey.
The tiredness we feel when we return can be fought with the right dose of caffeine, especially in the morning at breakfast and during coffee breaks at work.
However, be careful not to over do it because the re-entry syndrome is nothing but a manifestation of stress and adding an exciting substance like caffeine could be counterproductive making us no longer awake but only more nervous.
And, if the coffees become too many, they do not allow us to sleep properly which is absolutely necessary in this phase of return to work.
To wake up, it’s better to take a walk or participate in a sport that stimulates those endorphins that ultimately help fight fatigue and positively affect mood.
It’s time to resume habits, the good ones!
When you are on vacation, you have more time to devote to yourself and you are more likely to indulge and maintain healthy habits that make us feel good both physically and mentally.
Returning to the routine is not a good reason to resume the bad lifestyle that we might have before going on vacation.
So let’s treasure the good holiday habits and bring them with us when we return to everyday life. Both the physical and the mood will benefit, especially if these habits are preserved until the next summer holidays!
Breakfast, the most important meal of the day
Among the healthy eating habits to keep back from vacation is breakfast, which should not be neglected.
But in the end he was right, because “breakfast is an important thing“! We have heard this sentence a thousand times (and sometimes we have even raised our eyes to the sky when it’s said) but it is truly one of the most correct statements that has ever been spoken: breakfast is fundamental.
The benefits we get from the morning meal are essential to face the day ahead.
Here are some good reasons why you should never lose the habit of preparing a full breakfast every morning:
- Our metabolism is rekindled: during the hours of sleep our body does not assimilate any type of nutrient. Waking up and eating something is the best way to make it reactivate and make it work properly, therefore it helps you lose weight or maintain a possible weight loss, as you will feel less hungry even during the morning. Mineral salts, vitamins, sugars and especially slow-release carbohydrates are a panacea.
- It helps to start in a good mood: we know that our mornings are not exactly like in a commercial where everyone wakes up smiling and ready to face a full day full of expectations. But knowing that we have a good breakfast waiting for us as soon as we open our eyes affects our desire to get out of bed with a very different approach from those who get up at the last second by gulping down a coffee and running away to work.
We try to organize our favorite breakfast the night before and go to sleep peacefully with the thought that at least we will find a joy upon awakening.
- Lucidity and concentration: another really important reason that we can only benefit from enjoying a regular breakfast. Our morning fuel, in addition to activating the metabolism, does another very important thing: it turns on the brain.
Let us always remember our mind, the technical center of all our daily activities and actions, always give it something to feed on.
Let’s rediscover breakfast at home!
Let’s take the time to quietly prepare and savor the first meal of the day at home: a balanced breakfast with the family or leafing through the newspaper before starting a long day at work.
It’s better to wake up a little earlier in the morning, if we haven’t fallen asleep again after the alarm clock.
At breakfast, let’s learn to move away from the hectic, haphazard approach the morning routine has become and transform it into a wonderful early-day ritual. A few minutes give us the opportunity to connect, spread goodwill and start the day with a smile, as well as with a good dose of nutrients our body needs to deal with the day in a more dynamic way (and not doze during the morning).
Choosing breakfast at home is not just a matter of taste. It can be dictated by an attention to one’s diet and the desire to consume low-calorie products, but there are also those who consider family breakfast an indispensable rite, an important moment to share with those one loves, before facing their commitments.
Any ideas for breakfast?
Curiosity remains a fundamental ingredient both in life and at table.
If we try to experiment with new tastes, we will discover that getting used to new flavors can be pleasant and healthy.
The typical Italian breakfast includes a baked product first of all: from the classic cornetto still hot in the oven, to the biscuits to soak in milk, up to the delicious slice of bread spread with jam or Nutella.
For a boost of energy and vitamins, fresh orange juice or fruit is added.
And then you can’t miss the cappuccino.
Whether for convenience or haste, an opportunity to socialize and meet friends or for goodies, every so often let’s have an Italian breakfast “cappuccino and cornetto” at the coffee shop!
The scents of the bar in the morning are the most inviting and irresistible. The sound of the grinder, the steam wands and the filter holder slamming on the floorboards comprise a symphony of breakfast music. Simultaneously, the aroma of coffee with the sweet fragrance of cornetti as the barista greets you with “buongiorno” starts your day off by feeding the body and the soul.
Although Italians are used to a mainly sweet breakfast, other habits imported from abroad or inspired by healthy eating styles are slowly taking hold.
For each breakfast we can choose the most suitable coffee to complete and accompany the meal.
Muesli offers few sugars and lots of energy if we love to eat whole grains for breakfast and avoid simple sugars. There are all types: from the luscious ones with chocolate and sugar to the healthiest ones, with whole grains, nuts, seeds and dried fruit without added sugar. You can eat them with a cup of milk or add them to a plain yogurt with some fresh blueberries.
The result is an energetic breakfast that does not cause that glycemic peak capable of returning hunger in a few hours.
To complete the experience, you cannot miss a good espresso.
Want to try something different? The American breakfast can inspire us: egg, bacon & toast or pancakes to prepare early in the morning with flour, eggs, vanilla and a little sugar. Once ready, they should be stacked, drizzled with maple syrup and decorated with a handful of blueberries, slices of banana or strawberry.
The best coffee to accompany pancakes is the filter coffee, prepared with the special machine or with the french press.
What about the savory breakfast? Classic toast with ham and cheese, a sandwich with the salami, a salted croissant or a slice of rye bread spread with butter with a bit of smoked salmon. Many sportsmen prefer a breakfast of egg white and wholemeal bread to fill up with protein.
To complete this breakfast, prepare a coffee with moka pot.
And you? How was your comeback from vacation? What is your favorite breakfast? At home or at the coffee shop? What are your morning rituals? Do you love preparing the table and sitting with your family? Or, do you just get up and love the silence?
Photo credit: thanks to Manuel Orlandi Photographer