Staying healthy while you travel may seem a bit tricky these days, but you can with some forethought and planning.
Use these tips to stay physically and mentally healthy when you travel during the holidays or anytime.
Planning Routines, Moderation, and Support
Maintaining your good habits, planning ahead, packing comfort items, and having support a phone call away will help you stay healthy when you’re away from home. Use these tips to stay at your peak while you travel.
Maintain healthy habits/routines – Routines help us create great daily habits and meet our goals. Research shows that routines also help us manage stress and anxiety. Conversely, a lack of structure and routine can seriously stress us out, especially when we travel.
It's important to stick to your healthy habits and routines as much as possible while you travel, especially around exercise, sleep, nutrition, and hydration. If you typically go to the gym in the morning, but there won’t be one, plan a walk or find an online High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout. If your travel takes you to a different time zone, melatonin can help you beat jet lag and adapt to the time change.
Bring necessities for your habits/routines – We all have items vital for our healthy routines, like a yoga mat, protein shake, vitamins, and maybe even a meditation seat. Taking your favorites along makes sticking to your routines easier. A collapsible water bottle is idea for air travel, but you might also consider a filtering water bottle if you’re accustomed to filtered water at home. Water tastes different everywhere and you don’t want to skimp on it!
Prepare for the worst – Parents of young children have this down with a diaper bag packed for every possible disaster! We can emulate this preparedness by packing “what if” items for ourselves and the family. A first aid kit should include preferred treatments for colds, digestive upset, aches, and abrasions. Add ear plugs, sanitizing wipes, a barf bag, and an extra facemask. Carry the first aid kit with you. If you’re flying, pack the clothing and the toiletries you’d need for a surprise overnight layover as well!
Create a realistic eating plan – Rather than assuming your will power will hold out, map out your overindulgence pitfalls and plan your splurges. During the holidays, you can expect to be offered goodies. Practice your “no thank you” beforehand and remember that grabbing goodies doesn’t mean you have to eat them all that day. Make a stash of your favorites and enjoy in small increments. (Most goodies freeze well too.) If you do overindulge on food or drink, try these steps and recipes to get back on track.
Those of us with food allergies or restrictive diets may need to plan our own meals or bring substitutions like non-dairy milk, gluten-free items, or sugar alternatives. Shop ahead to see if your items are available at stores where you’re headed. If they’re not, pack what you need or ship essentials to your destination.
PLAN for meltdowns, awkward conversations and solo time – It’s typically a matter of when you’ll be at your wits end than if you will during the holidays. Or maybe you’re the family rock, always grounded, but someone else ususally has a meltdown. You can’t control others’ comments or emotions, but you can plan for the moments when you need to say the right thing or take a breather. Get ideas for your response – or escape – here.
If your family dynamics trigger trauma, depression, or substance abuse, please seek support before you need it. If you have a listening partner – someone who listens without trying to fix or solve your issues – ask if you can call them if situations get tense. You may also want to add one of these crisis hotline numbers to your phone contacts so you know support is only a call away. Remember, if you know a situation isn’t healthy for you, it’s okay to opt out!Wishing you happy and healthy traveling!