Plane Truth is a series about how best to balance travel demands, professional obligations, and personal fulfilment. In this volume, we answer questions about how to maintain wellness while traveling and discuss the ways you can achieve physical and emotional health on your journeys. Let us know how you remain well by leaving a comment on Facebook or Instagram—and remember: ask us anything! We’ll answer the most popular questions in an upcoming issue of Paid Leave.
photo by Björn Grochla
What’s the best way to beat jet lag?
Long flights can be demanding on our bodies. Staying sedentary for long periods of time, skipping time zones, and losing sleep all have negative side effects. That said, there are a few things you can do to efficiently beat jet lag—and get right back to your busy work schedule.
Drink up: The number-one habit you want to maintain while traveling is drinking water. To avoid dehydration (which can worsen the effects of jet lag), drink water before, during, and after your flight. Try to avoid alcohol and coffee as much as possible. You can have an espresso or cocktail at the airport (it’s a tough habit to break), but these stimulants should be avoided mid-flight—both have been proven to increase dehydration and may also disturb sleep.
"From the moment you disembark, try to catch as much natural light as possible—this will help shift your internal clock."
photo by Dmitry Galaganov
photo by JC Gellidon
Move on: Cabin crews swear by it, research backs it up: keep on moving. During a long flight, walking up and down the cabin aisle and practicing yoga are great ways to increase circulation. A simple knee-to-ankle or shoulder stretch can work wonders.
photo by JC Gellidon
Reset the clock: From the moment you disembark, try to catch as much natural light as possible—this will help shift your internal clock. A brisk walk upon arriving is a good way to start, but you should try to maintain your regular exercise regime throughout your entire journey, especially if it gives you the chance to explore (more on this below).
"Maintaining a proper work-life balance (or, in this case, a work-travel balance) can set you up to be more productive for longer stretches of time."
How do you stay healthy and reduce stress while traveling?
As we continue to travel more and more for work and personal reasons, it’s essential that we understand how to stay healthy—stress, sleep deprivation, unhealthy food and drink choices, and lack of exercise are the most common threats to our wellbeing. But the good news is, planning ahead can significantly minimize these risks. Maintaining a proper work-life balance (or, in this case, a work-travel balance) can set you up to be more productive for longer stretches of time; routine is key.
photo by Chinnapong
Rise and grind: Morning exercise doesn’t just make you feel more energized. It can strengthen your immune system, help you adapt to new time zones, and increase your overall productivity. And that’s not all: exercise has also been proven to help clear your mind, release endorphins, boost creativity, and enhance problem-solving abilities.
"...meditating for as little as five minutes a day increases immunity, improves sleep and digestion, lowers blood pressure, and leads to emotional wellbeing."
photo by Eunice Stahl
Stay calm: If you’re looking for a lower intensity way to reduce stress, improve focus, and enhance productivity, find your inner zen. Research suggests that meditating for as little as five minutes a day increases immunity, improves sleep and digestion, lowers blood pressure, and leads to emotional wellbeing.
photo by Devin Avery
photo by New Africa / Shutterstock Inc.
Take care: Sleep deprivation and poor nutrition can leave our bodies more susceptible to getting sick. Keep an eye on what you’re eating and drinking (restaurants and hotels do have healthier options) and prioritize getting a good night’s rest. Carrying a small hand sanitizer with you helps, too.
How can you maintain your fitness/wellness routine while on paid leave?
Being on the road doesn’t mean you can’t maintain your fitness goals. It comes down to finding a routine that aligns with your trip.
photo by AnnaTamila / Shutterstock Inc.
Work up a sweat: There are a number of ways to stay active while traveling: many hotels will have a small-scale gym and there are plenty of exercises that require little to no equipment. You may also choose to workout in your room—lunges, jump squats, planks, and push-ups work up a sweat. To take these workouts to the next level, pack some light-weight equipment (resistance or TRX bands, jump ropes) in your carry on.
"Go for a run in the park after your morning conference call, walk to all of your offsite meetings, rent a bike, or take an evening stroll back to your hotel..."
photo by John T
Get out(side): Another easy way to get a workout in is to multitask. In other words: actively exploring a city. Go for a run in the park after your morning conference call, walk to all of your offsite meetings, rent a bike, or take an evening stroll back to your hotel to get the most wellness benefits, while still experiencing the best of what a city has to offer.
Have you got questions about what to do, where to go, or how to make the most of each stage of the journey? Send them our way—we’ll keep answering popular inquiries in our next issue of Paid Leave.
Written by Roxanne Merrell