Business travel has been a part of my professional life since my very first job. There are periods where I travel once every couple of months and periods where I travel every week. And let’s face it, it is really hard to stay Zen on the road. When I was younger, I didn’t give much thought to taking care of myself while traveling and would pretty easily get out of balance – and usually come down with a bad cold and in bed for a week. Now, I am better at caring for myself emotionally and physically while on the road, and wanted to share a few tips that help me get through the planes, trains, and hotels.
Water: Buy a lightweight water bottle and bring it with you at all times so you don’t have to think about finding and drinking water. When flying, they deprive you of oxygen and only pass through with the drink cart once – maybe twice – during the flight. You’ll feel like hell the next day if you don’t hydrate. Plus, who wants to pay $7 for the bottle of water they leave you in the hotel room?
Snacks: I’m a six small meals kind of gal and I have a strange food hoarding disorder when I fly – maybe it’s those stories of long hours on the tarmac and running out of food on planes. Plus, I like to eat healthy, and that can be hard to find in a bag of cheetos. So if it’s a day trip, I pack my regular meals and snacks so I know I will never be without food and I’ll make the right choices during the day. I also never leave home without green tea and truvia, two staples for happy mornings.
Embrace the chains: When I am away from home, I miss my routine, so I try to have a modified routine on the road. It’s nice to know that Starbucks has a green tea that I really like and that every Starbucks always looks and smells the same no matter what city you happen to be in. There is comfort in that. I also like to stay at Kimpton hotels for the same reason. All have a good vibe, a wine hour, and a great restaurant. Some rituals you can take with you and others you can find on the road.
Go-To List: I have a mental list of menu items that are healthy and easy to find: hard boiled eggs, plain Greek yogurt, cheese sticks, salad with grilled chicken, grilled veggies and fish. It just makes it easier to make choices on the fly or when I’m already hungry. Decision fatigue – it’s real.
Better than nothing: Sometimes I feel really motivated to exercise while on the road and other times, I just feel exhausted and want to sleep for ten more minutes. But I try to remember that I always feel better after I work out
Friends in every port: With Facebook and Linked In, it’s easy to find out who you know in a particular city. Build in some social time or networking time while you are on the road. It breaks up the work day, gives your mind a break, and gets you in front of new people and new ideas.
Get outside: Even if it’s just for 5 minutes. Go outside. Take a deep breath. Instagram it so you have some proof.
What helps you stay Zen on the road?