Stifling planes. Stuffy conference rooms. Salty foods. And…stress!
As helpful as work travel can be for growing business, it can be just as challenging for health and wellbeing.
Research has pointed to such issues as increased anxiety and depression symptoms, difficulty sleeping, diarrhea and gastrointestinal problems, dependency on alcohol, and an overall sedentary lifestyle, depending on how many nights away and in what location.
So what can you do to stay healthy during necessary work travel?
Here are 4 tips that aim to keep your wellness in check while hitting the road, skies, and hotels:
1. Plan your movement.
Work travel can be synonymous with lack of movement (hello, meetings), but it doesn’t have to be.
Plan when, where, and what your movement will be and make sure to pack appropriate clothes and shoes.
For example, will you choose an early morning run outside? strength training in the hotel gym before dinner? an evening walk on the treadmill? in-room yoga before bed?
In addition, utilize brief free-time throughout the day to refresh and get circulation going. Ask a colleague if they would like to walk with you outside during a break, stretch (standing up or in your chair) in-between speakers, and take the stairs instead of the elevator when possible and feasible.
2. Hydrate effectively.
Travel alone can be dehydrating but add on top such things as restaurant and catering foods, alcoholic beverages, nervous sweating, and environmental climate factors and traveling for business can easily require extra hydration.
But not all hydration is created equal.
Opt for still or sparkling water (infused with fruit if you prefer), herbal teas, electrolyte beverages, coconut water, milk, and low-sugar smoothies. Reduce or avoid intake of sugary juices, soda, and alcohol.
What about coffee?
While you may want to reach for coffee throughout the day, be mindful that caffeine can be dehydrating depending on how much you drink. Stay under 5 cups to avoid significant dehydration.
3. Balance mineral content.
Eating out can raise sodium levels that may result in bloat (from water retention), headaches, weight gain, and cardiovascular disease in addition to an increase in stress.
But how do you get around high sodium meals during work travel?
First and foremost, opting for fresh, whole foods rather than processed foods as much as possible can make a difference (believe it or not, that steamed broccoli side versus potato chips can help reduce sodium intake!).
In addition, it’s important to consider how balanced your minerals are. If your sodium intake is high, try to stabilize it with higher potassium foods such as bananas, oranges, sweet potatoes, beans, and low-sugar and low-fat yogurt.
4. Manage stress.
Even the most subdued business trip can be stressful at times (whether it’s consciously felt or not), so mindful self-care can be key.
In addition to movement and a healthy diet, try:
- scheduling relaxation time (aiming to be back in your hotel room by a certain time, for example)
- taking adaptogen herbs to support adrenals and the central nervous system for a healthy response to stress
- meditating for 5-10 minutes before leaving for the day and right before bed
- deep breathing throughout sessions and meetings (such as inhaling through the nose for 4 seconds, holding it for 7 seconds, and exhaling through the mouth for 8 seconds)
Work travel may be necessary and with a few mindful choices, it can be just as enjoyable.
And remember, if stress is building before and/or after a trip, acupuncture and massage can be beneficial tools in calming the nervous system in order to get back to normal.
To schedule an appointment, please call us at (303) 688-6698 or click here.
The CNMA office provides naturopathic care, acupuncture, testing, massage, and holistic counseling to those in Castle Rock, Castle Pines, Highlands Ranch, Lone Tree, Centennial, Parker, Larkspur, Monument, Colorado Springs, and the greater Denver metro area. For those outside of these areas, virtual appointments are available.