Summer vacationAre you starting to feel a little vacation weary? There’s a reason for that.

Consecutive days off are when Americans like to indulge in long Happy Hours. And binge drinking takes a toll on the body’s functions. Because summer weather runs hot, you are even more likely to feel the ill effects of having one drink too many.

Additionally, during vacation-mode, Americans tend to gain between 1 to 5 extra pounds. The culprit? Those long summer barbeques and the lounging about with nothing better to do than raid the cupboards.

Combine excess drinking, non-nutritious eating, and add summer sleeplessness to the mix… No wonder we struggle yearly when summer vacation ends.

If you want to glide right back into work, feeling refreshed and looking it, too, consider starting now to get yourself ready for the transition.

Here’s how to mitigate the fallout of vacation vices + your action plan for getting your health back on track by the time summer ends.

Grooming habits tell the tale.

It can be easy to let grooming habits slide when we are not expected to be anywhere. But when grooming habits tie into hygiene, that’s where problems can arise. So if you’ve found yourself skipping that morning teeth brushing session, think again.

According to Total Dentistry of Cincinnati, a dental office in Cincinnati, OH, “One of the best things you can do to keep your mouth healthy at home is brush and floss.  While most patients report brushing at least once a day, and flossing “on occasion”, for many there’s room for improvement.  It is best to brush after every meal, to remove any food debris which can lead to cavities, gingivitis and/or bad breath.  Brush for a total of 2 minutes, spending about 30 seconds on each quadrant of your mouth.”

Fix your eating patterns, one meal at a time

Given yourself permission to eat whatever you want because you’re in vacation mode? Those “special occasion” foods are the ones often loaded in sugar and oil that don’t make the cut on your usual healthy diet.

Feeling overwhelmed by the thought of needing to fix your poor eating habits all in one go? Take it one meal at a time, one action at a time, one ingredient at a time.

First, ask yourself if there is one small thing you can do to make your meal 1 percent healthier. One percent might not feel like a lot, but those percentage points add up.

It might be that you decide to use vinegar on your fries instead of ketchup. Or to choose fruit for dessert instead of ice-cream. Small choices done consistently will change how you view what you’re eating. If you want to ease back into healthy eating in time for vacation’s end, this is the way.

And don’t stress out if you have a meal that is miles away from being healthy. Always follow up an unhealthy meal with a healthy one.

Do one thing for your future health each day

Summer vacation is all about immediate fun. Because there are only a limited number of days to play, this feeling of scarcity can tip you toward reckless behavior when it comes to your health and your spending habits.

We falsely think that we might not get another chance after summer. But this is clearly untrue. Summer days end, but life does not.

In order to rein yourself in from going overboard, do one thing each day for your future health. Healthier grocery store selection, an exercise session, a healthy meal, a trip to the dentist, or an early night so you can catch up on your sleep debt, etc.

Do one thing today that your post-summer self will thank you for.

Keep a habit tracker

So you want to ease back into healthy habits, but you find it difficult to remember to do them? Here’s a tip that many successful people use: Track your habits daily via a habit tracker.

A habit tracking chart lists the habit on one side and space for you to check off whether you did the habit that day or not.

Habits you track could include whether you’ve flossed, exercised, or slept 8 hours that night. Choose any healthy habit that you want to incorporate back into your life.

You can do this on paper and post it on your fridge or use an app that provides this service. If you use pen and paper, post that chart somewhere you can see it easily, and then hold yourself accountable.