We work so hard to keep our health on track, at its best, all year round. Often times when we travel, whether for a leisurely vacation or for work, our daily rhythm gets thrown for a loop. Traveling can be hard on your health. It often times brings an increase to our stress level, our bodies need to adjust to a different time zone, finding healthy food options can be challenging, and of course if you are flying you can expect to be exposed to numerous airborne pathogens. Sound like fun? Not really. But there are several ways you can be proactive and protect yourself from these potential problems.
To get yourself off to the best start possible, it's a good idea to take extra precautions a couple of weeks in advance. First and foremost, get plenty of rest. Aim for a solid 8 hours of sleep every night. Of course we all know how important sleep is for our overall health, but seriously, it does make a difference. If you struggle with getting a good nights rest, here are a few things you can try. Many people are low in magnesium. That can create a host of issues, but since we are focusing on sleep, Natural Calm can provide you with the magnesium you are lacking and provide you with a restful night sleep. It also comes in travel packs which you can take with you on your trip.
Another one of my secret weapons is earplugs. I seriously get the best night sleep with these little gems. Not only to they help you sleep peacefully at home, but they are great on an airplane and in your hotel, or wherever it is your travel takes you. There are bound to be noises and sounds you are not accustomed to when you are out of your own environment. Earplugs block all of that out. My advice is to invest into some custom ear plugs from your ENT. You just plop them right in your ear and they fit snugly, because they were made specifically for your ear canal. Mine were just over $100 but worth every penny! Especially when your spouse snores and you have teenagers that stay up later than you do. Yep, a glimpse into my life! If you decide to go this route, they take a couple of weeks to make so plan ahead. If you are fine with the foam, disposable ear plugs, than that is your next best choice. Of course they are cheaper and you can pretty much buy them anywhere. The only downfall is they can be a pain to get in your ear and I find them uncomfortable to sleep in.
If you dabble with essential oils, you can make a couple of concoctions that will serve as a sedative which helps with sleep tremendously. A few of my favorite oils for this are Clary Sage, Valerian, and Vetiver. Rub a couple drops of any of these oils onto the bottoms of your feet about 30 minutes before you go to bed.
Building Up Your Immune System:
You want to make sure your immune system is strong before you travel. We already covered the sleep portion of this, but there are a few other things you can do. Hydrate! Your body needs hydration and this can sometimes be a tricky thing to balance. There are many factors that can vary from person to person which would require different hydration needs. I have experienced the side effects from both sides of the spectrum, not enough water or too much water. Symptoms of not enough water are: thirst, dry mouth & skin, headache, lethargy, dizziness, and confusion. Symptoms of too much water are: loss of energy, headache, confusion, restlessness, nausea/vomiting, muscle cramps, spasms, or weakness. You can see they both have very similar symptoms which can be quite confusing to people. If you are unsure about the right amount of water to consume on a daily basis, I would suggest sitting down with your doctor to discuss your lifestyle and activity level to get the best advice. And while water is my fluid of choice daily, I also consume water through foods. This counts as your daily allowance. Here are a list of foods with a water content of 90% or higher: cucumber, iceberg lettuce, spinach, radishes, cauliflower, green peppers, baby carrots (slightly higher than full sized carrots), tomatoes, celery, broccoli, cantaloupe, watermelon, star fruit, strawberries, and grapefruit. So consider those options as well.
Elderberry is great for boosting your immune system. Taking one teaspoon a day can really aid in keeping you healthy. Zinc is another mineral great for your immune system. There are plenty of supplements out thee to choose from. Nuts and seeds are also a great source for zinc, particularly pumpkin seeds. So grab a handful of those and munch away! An herb noted for being great for your immune system is Oregano. An active agent in Oregano is rosmarinic acid which is a strong antioxidant. Oregano also contains powerful anti-microbials that are known for having anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. It is also useful for upper respiratory infections and has anti-inflammatory properties. So by all means, add this wonderful herb to your meals! But there are a couple more ways I add this in to my routine. I have Oregano oil on hand at all times. It is great for fighting colds and even keeping them from starting in the first place. You can simply gargle with some warm water, sea salt, and a drop or two of oregano oil for a quick method. Another easy way to use oregano is through capsules. I really like using Oreganol. One great thing about it is that it travels easily. I usually take one Oreganol pill a day for about a week prior to traveling. This helps boost my immune system. If you feel a cold coming on, you might want to take 2-3 capsules spread throughout your day to help fight off viruses. Probiotics are another way to help immunity. They provide you with good bacteria in your digestive tract which help support your immune system. There are several probiotics on the market so research which one you think is best for you. I have tried a few and I go back and forth between brands to switch things up. Jarrow, Garden of Life, and Renew Life are brands that I trust and like just to give you a few examples.
Yes, this involves planning ahead. For some this is a strength, for others it is a weakness. Disorganization and a lack of planning can often bring more stress into your life. This can totally be avoided with taking some time to plan. And no, I don't mean the night before your trip. Like a month before would be ideal. This may seem like too much time, but you need to allow time in case you are ordering something for your trip, or if specific reservations need to be made in advance, etc. Have all your ducks in a row. Do you have the luggage you need, the supplements you need, any other supplies, food, or information you need to obtain. If you are traveling to a dry climate, consider buying a travel humidifier. They are easy to transport and only require purchasing a water bottle when you arrive at your destination. Invest in some travel sized bottles like these ones to store any lotions, creams, liquids, or other concoctions you want to take on your trip.
Do some research on the best places to eat at your destination. Having food options that tailor to your specific needs and knowing where to find them right away can not only eliminate stress, but make your tummy happy! Also consider bringing some snacks of your own. Soaking and dehydrating nuts and seeds are a great option. By soaking and dehydrating, you are neutralizing the phytic acids and enzyme inhibitors thus making them easier to digest. Other options are taking some homemade granola or your favorite protein bars with you. It's just nice to have these readily available so you are not at the mercy of airplane or airport food. Plus they are nice to have during your trip as well.
With a little planning ahead and showing yourself some TLC, you will be in tip top shape for enjoying a successful vacation, business trip, or wherever your travel takes you.