Research shows there's a strong link between our digestion and our mind, so it makes sense that holiday stresses - last-minute passport hunts and rushing to catch the plane - can play havoc with our gut.
According to research from constipation treatment Dulcolax over half (55%) of women worry about getting ill while they're away*, adding another layer of unwelcome anxiety.
That's where these mindful eating tips come in. If you stick to them you'll be less likely to overeat, more likely to enjoy the good stuff, and they'll help you avoid gut issues like constipation - leaving you free to enjoy your holiday.
Pay attention to your food
Mindfulness is all about becoming more aware of yourself and the world around you, and this definitely applies to eating. All too often we shovel our food down without paying attention. As well as reducing the enjoyment we get from food, this also means we're more likely to overeat - if you don't notice what you eat you won't listen to your body when you're full.
So pay attention to what's on your plate, how it looks and smells, and the different flavours and textures when you eat it. A little bit of mindfulness here can help you properly appreciate the exciting new cuisine and gives your gut the chance to do its job.
You can start noting down what you're eating and when before you go away to increase your mindfulness around food. As well as helping you check you're eating enough of the good stuff and not too much of the bad, it can show up any patterns you have around food. Do you go for double carb at the end of a stressful day? Did you eat a packet of biscuits after an upsetting conversation?
Here mindfulness is about noticing these patterns, not beating yourself up about them. Then the next time you reach for a chocolate bar when you're stressed, you might stop and ask yourself if you really want it and if it will make you feel good in half an hour. If the answer's no, try some deep breaths and see how you feel in ten minutes. This is another really effective way of avoiding eating more than your body needs.
Stress has a seriously negative effect on your digestive system: nausea, constipation, stomach aches and IBS are all linked to it . Part of the explanation for this is that high levels of stress are harmful to gut flora - the large number of microorganisms that live in our guts doing all sorts of wonderful things. There's a lot of interest in gut flora at the moment as people are excited about how important this bacteria is for your health, including your digestion.
Meditation is an increasingly popular technique to help manage stress, and although it may conjure up images of monks sitting on mountain tops, it's actually really simple for anyone to do. Start by closing your eyes and focusing on your breathing: even two minutes of this can make a big difference to stress levels. Try it the night before you go away or on the plane to settle any pre-holiday jitters and settle your gut.
Exercise really is a magical thing. It's another powerful way to combat stress, and studies also show that people who exercise more have more different kinds of microbes in their digestive tracts: the sign of a healthy gut!
Exercise is also really helpful for combating constipation, both as prevention and cure, as it keeps the muscles of your digestive system working well. So even when you're busy relaxing on holiday, make sure you sneak in a little bit of exercise every day: splash about in the pool, take the stairs in the hotel or go on a walking tour to explore. It all counts, and stops your body becoming sluggish and bunged up.
To help manage constipation on holiday and to make sure it doesn't get in the way of your plans, Dulcolax has a free guide including tips and food swaps. Download it at myconstipationrelief.com/uk/
*The survey of 1,024 UK women was conducted by Censuswide.