Updated: Aug 24
The van life can be an incredibly rewarding way of life for any woman. Creating and maintaining healthy routines while on the road will take these rewards and intensify them. Exercising regularly, drinking enough water, eating healthy and practicing relaxation techniques are the top four best ways to ensure a healthy body and mind. Starting with small adjustments and committing to yourself, you will discover endless possibilities toward abundant personal well-being physically, mentally and spiritually. With fewer distractions and nature at your doorstep, take a self-care vacation and live your best van life with these carefully curated tips.
There are countless ways that a healthier routine could take form for you. Be honest with yourself about what is, and what is not, accessible for you. Here are some simple ways to switch up your daily routine to maximize your benefits while enojying the van lifestyle, starting with the small and graduating to the large. Read on if you’re ready to begin a wildly rewarding self-care journey.
Smaller Sized Shifts
Add One Healthy Habit to Your Daily Routine
There are so many healthy habits to choose from! If you’re looking to add a healthy habit focusing on your physical body, try implementing morning walks, afternoon water breaks or nightly stretching to your daily schedule. For focusing on your mental and spiritual health, options could include morning meditations, afternoon readings or nightly gratitude reflections. Accomplishing a particular habit at the same time each day will greatly increase your chances of not only making it stick but also of reaping the most benefits. That being said, if you need more flexibility, then another beautiful interpretation of this practice is to simply add any healthy habit you’d like to each day. This is also a great way to discover what and when works best for you and your van life needs. No matter which direction you take this suggestion, it will provide fruitful benefits that you can appreciate on and off the road.
Eliminate One Unhealthy Habit From Your Daily Routine
Examples of unhealthy habits include too much alcohol or screen time, eating processed foods, overeating, consuming large amounts of sugars and sodium, sleeping in, staying up too late and even slouching. Take a minute to think about what your worst daily habits may be, choose one, and practice intentionally avoiding it. Remind yourself that you are worthy of a healthy, happy life. This doesn’t mean you can’t have an occasional glass of wine with dinner or watch that movie you’ve been dying to see - as my sweet grandma always said, “moderation is the key to life”. Finding your perfect balance will take trial and error, so don’t beat yourself up if this is harder than expected. Rest easy at night knowing you are trying your best!
Swap One Habit for a Better One
This option is quick and easy! Instead of looking at your phone first thing in the morning or last thing before bed, try reading the newspaper or writing down your dreams. Instead of eating a packaged granola bar or bowl of cereal for breakfast, try making yourself a fresh veggie omelette or yogurt parfait. Instead of walking for fifteen minutes every morning, try twenty. Instead of driving to that coffee shop that’s a mile or three away, try walking or biking. Instead of a morning coffee, try a morning tea. Take one of your habits and level up! After all, you deserve every bit of it’s reward.
Larger Sized Shifts
Create a Morning or Night Routine
Morning routines turn into rituals that feel so good. You’ll find yourself excited and motivated to start your day, everyday. Treat yourself in the mornings by waking up just a tad (or a lot) earlier, giving yourself enough time to enjoy the little things to ensure a revitalizing start to your day. Stretching, leisurely enjoying a cup of coffee or tea, eating a healthy and balanced breakfast, checking your to-do list, going for a brisk walk, meditating, and/or meal planning are great ways to rise and surely shine. No matter whether you alot yourself twenty minutes or two hours for your juicy morning rituals, they will allow you to start your day with a clearer mind and a more energized body.
Nightly routines are an excellent way to set yourself up for success. Lay the clothes out that you’ll wear the next day, along with any item that will remind you of an important task you’ll need to complete - think resistance bands, yoga mat, running shoes, or your to-do list. This is also a great time to journal, read, create to-do lists, stretch, meditate and organize yourself for the day ahead so that you can enjoy your glorious morning routines stress and worry free. Taking this time to do a quick clean of your van is always on the table!
Make Plans and Set Goals
Minimizing your life into van-sized has already led you to part of the success - now you just have to hone in on the things that you’d like to improve on. Depending on how long you’ll be on the road, make mental (or written) notes on your ambitions for the day, week, month and year. Set goals for yourself, hold yourself accountable, and take a few minutes out of every day to witness the magic that is blossoming inside of you and to thank yourself for following through.
Remember that regular exercise, staying hydrated, healthy eating, and relaxation techniques will be critical to your physical, mental and spiritual health. Make a plan to prioritize these needs that feels right for you and is in easy reach while you are traveling. Do a little research and take note of the health and safety recommendations for your destinations. Vaccinations and medications may be required. Certain clothing items may be better than others. You may have to choose which menstrual hygiene products will best suit you on this journey - pads, tampons, menstrual cups, period underwear, or a combination. Set yourself up for success. Simplifying your living space increases your capacity and willingness to exert more control over your life. Now take those reins and live your fullest, most powerful van life!
Weekly meal planning and prepping will cut down on time, energy and costs. Start small, one meal at a time, then increase to one day at a time, and eventually plan one week at a time. Eating better also means being intentional - buy the most nutritious foods available that align with your budget and switch up the fruits and vegetables every week to enjoy a balanced and varied diet. And for any of you that may need to hear it - quit eating fast food! Other bad habits to avoid are eating processed foods, sugars and foods high in sodium. Van life is the perfect opportunity to slow down, rethink your habits, and be conscious of what you are putting into your body. Use this time to create small changes that slowly add up to huge accomplishments!
Although you may be traveling and living alone, true me-time means unplugging and giving yourself the time and space to reconnect the mind to body. Silence and hide all electronics. Treat yourself! You don’t have to go to the spa to feel and look your best. Give yourself a head-to-toe body massage, facial, manicure and/or pedicure. The time for self love is now and always, on and off the road!
Sleep, sleep, sleep! Listen to your body. Traveling can be both physically and mentally demanding, so it’s crucial to get enough rest.
Drinking a glass of lemon water every morning is a great way to begin your day. On top of the many health benefits this provides (potassium and vitamin C, prevents oxidation, aids in weight loss efforts, digestion, and hydration), the leftover lemon can be used as your daily deodorant! Lemon juice naturally kills odor-causing bacteria, tightens pores, gradually lightens skin, smells fresh and clean and has no harmful side effects. Seriously, try this ladies, it’s a game changer!
Gym memberships at Planet Fitness, Lifetime or 24 Hour Fitness can help you stay on your fitness track. With locations all over the United States, this is a great way to stay in shape, gain access to showers, and even to meet people and have some human interaction.
Most big cities have walking tours. Join them! Meet fellow travelers and learn things you could have never known without walking in the steps of a true local.
Humans are creatures of habit. Take this moment and dedicate yourself to one positive change, no matter how small or large. Staying healthy and creating routines doesn’t have to be complicated while living on wheels - with a little planning and a little more intentionality, it’s just around the next bend.