Tips for Staying Well on the Road

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Is there anything worse than putting in some hard time on the road, only to realize you’re sick as soon as you get home?

Since the pandemic, people are more aware of hand-washing and using hand sanitizer. But with masking less common, the common cold and other illnesses are having a field day. Restoring some simple wellness practices could make you healthier before, during and after your trip.

The following precautions may help you avoid the dreaded post-travel post-nasal drip, cough, fever and/or stomach upset.

Before Your Trip

Wellness habits at home usually translate to healthy habits during a trip, including staying hydrated and getting enough sleep. But with the idea of travel looming, it’s easy to do neither and in fact, run yourself ragged preparing for your trip. So, how to start off on the right foot?

For one thing, try not to procrastinate. Don’t leave packing until the night before, staying up till 2am when you have a 7am flight. You’ll only be depressing your immune system and opening the door to viruses and other germs floating around out there. Old school as it may sound, making a list and checking things off can help enormously.

Don’t try to be superwoman or man at work. Prepare reasonably and make sure co-workers know project status. Take your laptop or tablet, but don’t try to put in the same hours on the road as you would in your home or company office. It’s just not possible.

Try to maintain a positive outlook, telling yourself things like, “this trip is going to be great,” or “everything at the office will be fine.” The mind-body connection is real.

During Your Trip and At Your Event

Frequent flyers know that staying hydrated and taking regular walks during longer flights keep the blood flowing. In this age of flight overcrowding, though, it isn’t easy to wander the aisles, but even a stand at your seat is beneficial. Stretch those legs!

Once at your destination, don’t go overboard with food and drink. That buffet overflowing with food might be tempting, but try to replace some empty calories with fruit and veggies. Too much food and drink can disrupt your sleep and leave you feeling sluggish.

Which leads to the next tip: Walk whenever possible on your trip. There’s a reason the Romans came up with this nugget of wisdom: solvitur ambulando—”it is solved by walking.” It increases the circulation, clears the mind and boosts immunity. Layovers aren’t usually great, but they’re fabulous for walking. Yes, you may pass the same Starbucks 10 times, but you’ll get your steps in.

For anyone with a regular exercise or relaxation program, like yoga, do your best to keep it going while traveling. Something like yoga and stretching can be done in your hotel room, but if there isn’t time for the hotel gym, using the stairs instead of the elevator can accomplish your wellness goals while adding very little extra time.

Last but definitely not least—get enough sleep (is too much sleep even a thing?). Call it a night before the next day starts, use a noise machine, keep familiar habits like reading or taking a bath and avoid screens an hour before sleep, experts say—they disrupt the flow of melatonin you need to fall asleep.

After Your Trip

Rest and relax on your first day back. If you’re feeling under the weather, consider taking an extra day off. Getting enough shut-eye will help you feel better faster.

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