Note: This is the second in a series on travel and health. Click here for Part 1.
Traveling can be a great escape from our every day lives. A chance to see something new and to get outside of our routines. This can be really exciting for some of us. On the other hand, our bodies like a little bit of routine, even in the midst of something different. If we want to maintain our health while we are on the road, there are a few elements of our lifestyle that we might want to be sure we’re paying attention to. Things like our sleep, a regular morning routine, and even just general ongoing mental health support such as making sure to get enough alone time and moments of self-care in between all of the other activities we might be doing while we travel.
Here are a few tips that I’ve found can be helpful in this area.
1. Get some sleep.
Yep, it’s lots of fun to stay up a little later than usual and sleep in after a long day of sightseeing. Or maybe you are staying out late to enjoy yourself after a long day of work meetings. Either way, it will definitely take a toll on your health in short order. One way to approach this would be to think ahead, in advance of the start of the trip. You could decide to pick a certain percentage of your nights on the road that you will stay up late or stay out with a group. Then you have some other nights reserved to hit the sack earlier. Or maybe you want to stay up late every night but you know you can also take naps. Knowing this, you can build your daytime activities around having a rest period mid-day. Whatever you need to do, try to stay as close to your needed hours of sleep per night as possible for optimal health.
2. Keep as many routines as possible.
Do you have a morning routine? Keep it. Find a place to mediate, or journal. Go for that daily walk just like at home, just use a route close to your lodgings instead. While it’s good for your brain and body to try new things, it’s also good for it to maintain some familiar and comfortable routines. It’s likely that a little familiarity will also keep you feeling rooted to where you are and feeling grounded while other things about your trip might be throwing you for a loop. No routine yet? There’s no reason you can’t start one now. You can always modify it when you get back home, and maybe you’ll find that you enjoy having it to rely on no matter where you are.
3. Make sure to attend to your self-care.
Working all day? Having no breaks will take its toll. Is there a session of the conference you can skip in order to go for a walk, or to call a friend to check in? With your family 24/7? Find someone else in the family to watch the kids and slip away for some time by yourself. You still need to take care of yourself, no matter what you are doing in life. You know that feeling that you get upon arriving back home? The one that makes you feel like you need a vacation after your vacation? Yeah. That’s what I’m talking about. Taking care of yourself while away can go a long way towards that.
I remember being in Southeast Asia with three other family members. We were on the move constantly. We’d get somewhere and stay for a while and then we’d move on. At first I was nervous about figuring out how to do my thing in a new place. Where would I go for walks, since I didn’t know the area? Was there a good spot to mediate that wouldn’t disturb my sleeping family members elsewhere in our lodging? I needed to find ways to get familiar with an unfamiliar environment so that I could go for a walk alone, or go out to have a meal by myself. Once I got past this feeling of being afraid to try, I found some really great spots to have experiences that left me feeling refreshed and ready for whatever the day had to offer
How do you maintain a healthy mindset while traveling? Weigh in below with any experiences you’ve had!