To all my boss ladies out there ! Whether you are travelling for business or pleasure, it can be extremely difficult to keep a healthy routine. Let’s face it : your smoothie blender won’t fit into your carry on and you’re probably not gonna want to check in a suitcase when you can skip the baggage claim stress. Every minute counts when you have business meetings to prepare. Alright, I am painting a very dramatic business trip scenario here but in my experience, I know it can get really ugly !
So you are all packed and ready to start your business marathon. Now how do you fit a healthy routine into that busy schedule ? Do you manage to get up at 6 am every morning, hit the gym, eat Instagramable foods, have productive business meetings, feel energized all day and hit the hay at 9 pm ? If you do, kudos to you. But in all fairness, frequent business travels can put a lot of stress on your body, which can lead to serious conditions in the long run.
Do you actually know what happens in your body when you travel ?After years of travelling, I have come up with a list of things that can be detrimental to your health as a frequent flyer. Awareness is key. So make sure to watch for these when you are traveling.
Airport Food. Have you ever noticed that healthy options are scarce in most airports and require a 20 min walk to the other side of the terminal ? Let's not even start talking about the food served on the plane. Thankfully in recent years, some airlines do stand out and serve Michelin standard food :)
Dehydration. The air in a plane’s cabin is typically drier than the air we breathe on the ground. Furthermore, the pressure inside the cabin is also lower than at sea level. What does it mean for your body ? As there is less oxygen absorbed by the blood and circulating, some people might experience low blood pressure. Some may even start feeling tired or dizzy after a while. Since our body is mostly made up of water, it is essential for our blood and digestive system.
Jet lag : The infamous jet lag is the result of disrupting the body’s circadian rhythms during a long-distance trip. Symptoms include : difficulty initiating or maintaining nighttime sleep, daytime sleepiness, decreased alertness, loss of concentration, impaired performance, fatigue, irritability, depressed mood and gastrointestinal disturbance .
Stress. Preparing for your travel, catching up on emails, airport shenanigans, delays, traffic etc... All these actions can drastically increase your stress level in a short period of time.
And the list goes on. Of course, there is something we can all do to ensure we reduce the effect of these usual suspects. Based on my experience as a frequent flyer, I have shortlisted a few tips that have helped me greatly :
Fuel. Pack healthy snacks before boarding. My go-to snack is a handful of almonds because they contain healthy fats, fiber, protein, magnesium and vitamin E. Just a small handful (about 28 gr) contains 20% of RDA for Magnesium and about 6 gr of proteins. They are quite satisfying and reduce hunger pangs.
Keep hydrated ! It sounds logical but drink plenty of water. This also means avoiding diuretic drinks that make you urinate often such as tea, coffee, and alcohol. Speaking of hydration, keep a skin moisturizer in your handbag !
Cure jetlag with Melatonin ! Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain. Its production is triggered by darkness and inhibited by light. Research has shown that melatonin can help reduce jet lag. You can take it as a supplement or you can get it from foods like goji berries, pineapple, cherries, walnuts, almonds, tomatoes, bananas, oranges. Soaking up the sun and taking a hot bath can also increase melatonin levels .
Vitamin C provides antioxidants to support your immune system. You can find vitamin c in red and green bell peppers, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, oranges, strawberries etc…
Magnesium is beneficial to your heart and helps to relax the muscles. You can either take it as a supplement or get it from foods like almonds, cashews, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, broccoli, bananas, etc...
Omega 3 fatty acids are essential to keep your brain healthy and sharp. Just fyi, about 60% of our brain is made up of fats.You can take Omgea-3 as a supplement or get it from foods like chia seeds, flaxseed and oily fish (order organic salmon or trout for dinner for example ).
Move. Walk to your meetings instead of taking the cab. Stand as much as possible ( even on the plane ) and avoid moving walkways and escalators. Try to squeeze a quick daily workout into your schedule. It will help relieve stress from your busy day. There are loads of short ''hotel workouts'' without equipment available online.
Lavender essential oil is a great way to relax before going to bed. Sleeping in an unfamiliar environment like a hotel room can sometimes be a source of anxiety. To make the experience better, rub 1-2 drops of lavender oil on your wrists and temples for an immediate calming effect and on your pillow to help you sleep.
Embrace the chaos : There will be airport drama, there will be delays but in the end everything will be fine. Deepak Chopra says : ''Worry is self-induced anxiety. It solves nothing and blocks the possibility of dealing with things more positively. Complaining increases tension and anger. It encourages other people to act hostile in return.'' So, try to detach yourself from the stressor and listen to your favourite music, meditate ( try Insight Timer) or call a friend.
One last thing that is equally important to everything mentioned above is to tell yourself every day that you are doing great. Yes, that's true. You know it, and you over there know it too, everybody knows it ( totally stole that line from Oprah). So don’t beat yourself up if you don't feel like working out one day or if you end up binge eating in your hotel room. Tomorrow is another day. Life is too short to spend another day at war with yourself ( Ritu Ghatourey).
If you want to know more about my business travel routine, send me an email or leave a comment below. These are my personal favorites but I'm very curious to know what you boss ladies do to stay healthy when traveling.
Safe flight !
Eastman, C. ,Burges, H., (2009), How To Travel the World Without Jet lag. Available at : https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2829880/
Mead, N., (2008), Benefits of Sunlight: A Bright Spot for Human Health. Available at : https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2290997/
Kahn, F., (1995), Arrive in Better Shape. Available at: http://www.aviation-health.co.uk/news/browse.php load=about_us.html
International Travel and Health, World Health Organization. Available at : http://www.who.int/ith/mode_of_travel/cab/en/
Chopra, D., The Chopra Center, Airport Stress: How to Travel with Ease Available at : https://chopra.com/articles/airport-stress-how-to-travel-with-ease