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Help, I’ve been on holiday!
Landed home lobster red, feeling bloated and with a liver crying out for some TLC? We’ve got you sorted.
Words: Lucy Gornall
13th August 2017, 12:01 am
Updated: 12th August 2017, 6:39 pm
HOLIDAYS are meant to be a chance for us to recharge, but most of us know that’s not the reality.
Whether it’s the beach parties or germ-filled planes that get the better of us, we’re often in need of some TLC when we touch back down in the UK…
Looking a little flushed? Don’t give up on the aftersun.
“While it can’t reverse the damaging effects of the sun, aftersun products help to soothe skin and cool it down after too much exposure,” says pharmacist Pareena Patel from Lloyds Pharmacy.
“But to get maximum benefits, you should be using it for a week or two after getting burnt, not just the evening after you’ve sat out in the sun for too long.”
Choose an aloe-vera-based product that contains vitamins A, C and E – all of which can help repair the damage to skin. We like Solero Aloe Vera Gel, £7.
Really torched yourself? Adults and older children could try a weak steroid cream, such as 0.5-1% hydrocortisone, for 48 hours – it may help decrease pain and swelling, plus speed up the healing process.*
You know the drill – the week before your hols, you work late every night to get ahead, then when you’re away you party hard and never hit the sack before the early hours. So your immune system takes a battering and come home time, you’re feeling poorly.
Up to 60% of us are hit by traveller’s tummy, depending on our destination**, while a study by the American Medical Association found that more than one in five people catch a cold within a week of flying. And it’s no wonder, given that planes are a hotbed of bacteria.
Research shows that tray tables can harbour up to 2,155 germ colonies per square inch – eight times more than the flush button in the loos.*** Gross.
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Looking after your gut is key to feeling better. Nutritionist Cassandra Barns explains that more than 70% of your immune system is located in and around the gut wall.
“The bacteria living here communicate directly with these immune cells. Having a healthy balance of gut flora is therefore vital to you not getting sick,” she says.
Eating fermented foods such as raw sauerkraut or kefir can help restore healthy gut bacteria. Or if you can’t stomach these, you could try Nature’s Plus GI Natural tablets, £23.75 for 90. They contain prebiotics, probiotics and digestive enzymes to help you to absorb more nutrition from your food while boosting your immunity.
But Cassandra warns: “If you’re really feeling unwell after your holiday, see your doctor to rule out more serious causes.”
Even travelling over a couple of time zones can cause jet lag, and symptoms can last anywhere from two to seven days.
Hope Bastine, sleep psychologist at mattress company Simba, says sticking to your usual bedtime routine when you land back home is really important.
Hope suggests using a seasonal affective disorder (SAD) light. These lamps emulate the sun’s natural light, causing the body to start producing serotonin – which is critical in re-synchronising your body clock.
Don’t have an SAD lamp knocking about? Pop a serotonin-boosting Holland & Barrett 5-HTP capsule, £16.99 for 60, an hour before bed to help you nod off.
And if you do wake up in the middle of the night, it’s worth making yourself a warm cup of camomile tea.
“Camomile can increase the body’s production of glycine – an amino acid that soothes muscle spasms, relaxes nerves and helps you to fall asleep,” says Hope.
Poolside cocktails, wine with dinner, followed by spirits all night… It all racks up and can leave your liver frazzled. So how to get back on track?
“Cut alcohol out of your diet for a while – even small quantities can create extra work for an already overworked liver,” says Superdrug nurse Catherine Turner.
Cassandra also recommends munching on liver-boosting foods such as beetroot, radishes, sprouting seeds or beans and lemon juice.
For an extra boost, take a Holland & Barrett Milk Thistle Effervescent Tablet, £7.99 for 20, daily with a meal. Milk thistle is full of the antioxidant silymarin, which boosts the production of new liver cells to replace the damaged ones.
Research by Musclefood.com shows that Brits consume up to 5,543 calories a day on an all-inclusive break. To give your gut a detox when you’re home, nutritional therapist Joanna Scott-Lutyens recommends choosing healthier options.
“Dark leafy veg, bitter foods like citrus fruits, and spices such as ginger, pepper, turmeric and cardamom will all stimulate digestive juices and help your gut work more smoothly,” she says.
Nutritional therapist Claire Barnes also suggests eating porridge for breakfast.
“The soluble fibre will help to improve bowel motility and soak up any excess fluids in the gut,” she explains.
You could also try a bloat-busting probiotic supplement, such as OptiBac Probiotics One Week Flat, £8.69 for a seven-day course.
“It will give your digestion a much-needed boost and help rebalance the good bacteria ratio in the gut,” says Joanna.
If leaving the sandy beaches and piña coladas behind wasn’t bad enough, the reality of having to trawl through 1,458 unread emails and face your boss again can feel pretty miserable.
It takes us four days on average to return to our normal productivity levels(?), and 70% of workers want to look for another job after returning from holiday.(??)
David James Lees, inspirational therapist at holistic therapy centre Wu Wei Wisdom, suggests: “Stop comparing your work life with holiday time. Focus on the here and now, and remember that your current work will fund your next amazing trip. To prevent everything becoming overwhelming, cut your workload into small tasks and focus on one at a time.”
Nutritionist Sarah Flower also suggests taking ginseng, which helps relieve stress. Try Power Health Power Ginseng herbal remedy, £7.90 for 30.