Last year was certainly a big year of business travel for me. I’ve lost count of how many planes I have been on, to be honest (I’m guessing about over 20), taking me back and forward across the Atlantic to many US cities in particular to attend events, see customers and meet business partners.
All of this travelling has certainly taken its toll on me, given the distances travelled by plane, the time-zone challenges and the unfamiliar environments that you need to quickly adjust to.
So this post is for all for you if you also travel a lot for business, but struggle to maintain healthy routines. It’s the strategy and approach that I follow, and it works for me. There are five key areas:
1. Be prepared for the flight. Having a trailmix to snack on during the flight comes in very handy. I usually prepare a trailmix containing seeds, nuts and some dried berries which keeps me going if I need a snack…and I do love to snack. I also put the trailmix in separate bags to prevent myself from eating the entire bag whilst waiting for the plane to take off! I often take a cucumber, some apples and a box of green tea bags with me to have something fresh to eat on the plane – I also drink a lot more water than normal, which means regular trips to the bathroom. (That has the added benefit of keeping me moving, though!)
2. Exercise daily. Okay, we’re off the plane now and at our destination. My running gear goes everywhere with me, as I make sure to run every morning if I can. In the US, this is much easier because of the time difference as I can get up really early and, depending on the time of year, can go out running from 5.30am. I love running in NYC, for instance, particularly in Central Park where there are so many runners! These runs also help me get a good feel for the different places I have visited.
If I stay somewhere with a gym – and most business hotels will have one – I’ll usually use the equipment there and do my daily routines of sits-ups, push-ups and squats which serve me well. I do tend to do the same exercises daily which goes against the advice of most personal trainers; however, it works for me, as it means I don’t need to think about it! I shake it all up every few months, rather than every day.
3. Meditate. Another daily habit that I take with me wherever I go is my guided meditations. I’ve been listening to the Gateway to Presence meditation for a month or so now, and it works for me and keeps me balanced mentally.
4. Eat well. This is where I can struggle at times, but the trick is to be flexible. At home, my day begins with a green juice packed full of goodness, but it’s not always possible to get this whilst travelling, depending of course where you go. New York or LA, no problem. Singapore, Utah, Paris and Amsterdam are challenging!
If there’s a Starbucks, I have found that they sell a type of green juice which I’ll buy as long as it’s low in sugar. I avoid green drinks like the Naked brand, which contain 28 grams of sugars – too sweet for me. For lunch and dinner, I stick to salads (again, depending on location) or vegetables and rice. Overall, I like to eat plain foods that aren’t likely to upset my stomach. I also drink very little alcohol.
5. Sleep. This is a big issue for travellers in general, and a gigantic problem for me when I travel through different time zones. I don’t take any supplements like some people do, but always try to fly as late as I can so that I can get some sleep on the plane (which I normally do). If I can, I stay on UK time, which in the US, for instance, means that I’ll go to bed around 8 pm and wake up around 3 am. This also means I need to resist checking my email when I wake up, as colleagues in the UK are all up and working and you can easily end up getting involved in issues and work two days in one!
So, there you have it. A few tips based on my experience that will hopefully help you remain healthy and in balance, despite the stress of airports, delays, plane journeys, different time zones and broken routines!
I’d really love to hear from you, too. Feel free to add to the list so that we can support business travellers everywhere! What do you do to keep healthy whilst travelling?
Let me know by writing in the comments section below.