Keeping our good health habits can be hard enough to fit into our regular hectic schedules. When we throw travel in the mix, staying on the health track can feel like riding a mechanical bull. The unexpected bumps, twists, jolts, and excitement may be fun, but can take our health for a ride. I'm feeling a huge increase in my work travel now. I've traveled to a bunch of places for work in the past, but I've been lucky to have the trips evenly spaced out, with enough room to take it slow and keep things healthy. Now that's changing quickly. I'm traveling for work up to four times a month and my schedule is back-to-back intensity. I see a lot of the traps, have fallen in some and avoided others. Reminds me a lot of a challenging physical yoga practice. The more you practice the less you fall, but you still fall, and that's all part of it. Everything is yoga. Every breath is special. Every moment is spiritual.
Ultimately there's a choice. We can match intensity and circumstance with the right balance of effort, tension and relaxation, just like on our yoga mat. We can stay in each moment instead of getting thrown around by it. When we do this, details, opportunity, and our lives have the chance to be fully lived, experienced and celebrated. When we are victims to the demands of our lives, we feel trapped in our bodies and minds. It becomes easy to seek comfort and refuge in bad health habits that only plunge us deeper into unawareness.
Habits are formed by practice and repetition. You start where you are. Benefits include a healthier body, mind, and a fuller life. You're simultaneously an active participant and watchful observer, instead of a victim to your circumstances.
10 Healthy Habits for Travel
1. Walk it. If your hotel is a mile or even two from where you're headed think twice before hopping into your car, unless you're on a superhighway.
2. Don't eat the crap in the mini bar. Clear out your fridge and take a trip to the local farmers market or in most cases the grocery store. Stock up on organic fruit, nuts and healthy snacks that will keep you fueled during your stay.
3. Wake up early. Set your alarm for 10 minutes earlier in the morning so you can have some time for yourself before you have to race to get ready. Sit on the floor, do some simple stretches or yoga and breathe. Take another 10 minutes at night before bed.
4. Eat less. Traveling is hard enough on your body. When you're at that business dinner think about eating a bit less than you would normally and give your body a rest.
5. Drink less. If you enjoy the occasional drink or more try to cut back or cut it out entirely while you're traveling. Your body and mind will thank you.
6. Get out of the office. If you have the kind of work where you're trapped in an office all day long, take a walk at lunch, even if it's just around the building a couple times. The fresh air and the stretch will do you good.
7. Stay in the moment. Healthy habits don't have to be synonymous with a boring trip. Enjoy each moment, take in the opportunities that surround you, and don't forget to have fun.
8. Pack a lunch. Unless you're flying Jet Blue from JFK and are surrounded with great choices, pack a lunch or dinner for the plane.
9. Step away form the Blackberry or iPhone. The world will not stop if you leave that email, text, or call for the morning. Prioritize your interactions. Give yourself some down time at night.
10. Bring a pal along. If it's possible it can be fun and helpful to bring a friend, or just team up with one of your fellow travelers. You can keep each other on track for taking those walks and choosing what to eat and not eat. You'll also have someone to help you figure out directions.