Don't let business travel steal your wellbeing mojo
When I worked in PR I was regularly on the road, hopping on and off planes and trains and working across different time zones. While I love travelling to new places and experiencing new cultures doing it frequently for your job can play havoc with your wellbeing.
If you travel a lot with work, then there are lots of things you can do to help you while you are on the road. Client dinners and drinks can often mean you indulge in rich food and alcohol. Your body can take a major hit from jet lag, leaving you drained of energy and struggling to sleep, coupled with trying to do your job this can take a toll on your wellness.
So, what are the best ways to look after your wellbeing if you travel with your job? I recently spent the week with global celebrity trainer, Camilla Akerberg at Helios retreat in Mykonos. Camilla has clients all across the world so she’s often on and off long-haul flights. She shared with me her top tips on how to stay healthy if you have to travel and regularly stay in hotels.
“Keep up with your healthy food choices and hit up the hotel gym if there is one. Choosing a hotel based on its health facilities is something you can probably chat to your boss about. Having no gym is no excuse, you can do a hotel room workout, take some light and small equipment with you in your bag. I always travel with booty bands, a skipping rope and a couple resistance bands for times I can’t find a gym. Your own body weight is a perfect workout equipment and can add great variation to your normal training routine”.
Traveling can zap your energy and leave you feeling tired and struggling to get motivated to exercise. Camilla recommends you plan ahead, decide what exercise you are going to do and commit to it.
“Humans are naturally lazy - If you just get there and then decide on the spot, you will most likely choose not to train. Have a program for your work trips. E.G. when arriving at the hotel, follow a certain workout in the hotel room or hotel gym before having a shower and getting some rest. I have a travel fitness guide available on my website (https://camillaakerberg.com/products/the-travel-fitness-guide), it has a large range of workouts you can do anywhere at any time. Hotel room workouts, hotel gym workouts, workouts with limited equipment or no equipment. Make exercise a habit”.
It’s key to fuel your body with the food that will keep you energised and boost your wellbeing. Good nutrition should always stem from healthy foods as a base. If you are travelling Camilla suggests “Taking some health supplements to support your diet, but keep in mind that real food is where it should start. Depending on your goal, your body’s specific needs and even your mental health- you may want to add in particular health supplements- vitamins, minerals or health boosting foods as part of your routine. When you travel, your normal food intake may slightly change, so taking along a protein supplement or other sports supplements can also help you fuel your body the best way”.
Feeling tired and lethargic on business trips can be really frustrating, no one wants to turn up yawning when you are looking to impress and be on your A Game. There are some great apps out there, like Jet Lag Rooster that plans a sleep schedule for you based on your regular sleeping habits and the time zone you’re travelling to. Try changing your sleep routine a few days before you travel. If you are travelling West stay up a bit later and if you are heading East then get in a few early nights. When you get on the plane adjust your watch to the local time you are travelling to and try and build your normal eating sleeping times around local time.
You can also manage jet lag with light exercise and good nutrition. Keep hydrated on the flight and avoid alcohol. Camilla suggests, “poor plane and airport food can leave you feeling a bit sluggish and bloated and sitting in a small seat for many hours can slow down your circulation and leave you feeling extra tired. Get moving and get some good nutrition into your body”.
If your job involves lots of client entertainment, then have the odd night off but look to make healthy choices. Camilla advises her clients to “Choose you battles wisely. When should you drink? What events can you manage without the drinks? Trying to have a soda water with a lime and eat healthy in restaurants. Choose fresh vegetables instead of fried dishes, lean protein sources, sauces on the side and fresh salads. Avoid calorie dense and nutritionally poor food alternatives. Understand your body and what foods work best for you”.
It can get a bit lonely if you are travelling on your own so keep in touch with loved ones on FaceTime and Skype. Try and work in shared office space rather than alone in your room.
As well as this take some time out to unwind, book a massage in the hotel. Speak to the concierge and map out a good walking route to your meetings that takes in some of the sites as well as gets you out in the fresh air and switch off from work. Finally, make the most of experiencing new places and cultures.