Travel is…exciting! At least for me. It fulfils my sense of adventure and love of exploration, as well as connecting me to different cultures and appreciating the beauty of our world. If you’re changing time zones while travelling, dealing with jet lag can dampen your experience, as can any other challenges to your body’s performance.
Travel can be stressful on the body, but there are some simple things you can do that may help your body.
I’ve found these 5 tips help:
I’m not sure your taste preferences, but airport and airplane food is not great! It’s also often highly processed, and full of sugars, salts, artificial flavours and other ingredients that don’t need to be in your body. If you have the time (and are ok with the prices!) you may be able to find healthier options in some of the restaurants within the airports prior to boarding your flight, but another option is to fast. Reducing the consumption of food for short periods of time reduces the stress on your body, freeing up internal energy for other important functions. It can also help your brain adapt more easily to the shifting time zones.
Also, fasting is easy! Instead of worrying about finding good foods, you can spend the time doing something else you enjoy. Now I get it, fasting might not sound easy if you’ve never done it before, but trust me, you can do it! You can read all about the benefits of fasting in this blog post.
Anytime is a good time to keep your body well hydrated, but the air quality in airplanes makes this even more important. The oxygen within airplanes comes from outside, and high altitude air has less moisture in it. This can dehydrate our bodies more than being on the ground. I always purchase a 1 L bottle of water to take onto the plane, and avoid alcoholic drinks which further dehydrate. Herbal teas are also great to consume, you can easily bring a few of your favourite tea bags with you in your carry on. Read more about why hydration is important in this post.
Move Your Body
I know it’s hard in the cramped seats but take breaks to get up walk the aisle. While sitting in your seat you can roll your ankles, hands, shoulders and neck. You can even do some simple stretches while in your seat, and you happen to have the luxury of space next to you, change your position frequently. Just think about moving your body someway. Movement is what your body was designed to do, and once you’re at your destination be sure to make activity part of your trip!
Blue Light Glasses
Have you heard of the glasses that are beneficial to wear if you’re spending hours in front of a computer screen? My son has been using “blue light glasses” and I finally gave them a try. I’m actually wearing them as I type this, as I have found that they reduce the amount of strain my eyes feel, and my overall level of fatigue. Our bodies use light like a nutrient, and natural light is always the best for our bodies! The wrong kind of lighting can adversely affect us, and airplane lighting is usually fluorescent, which is the essentially the junk food of lighting types!
Have you ever felt that airplane lighting was especially harsh? It’s due to the fluorescent lighting which takes away the naturally occurring spectrum of lights and concentrates it with blue light – which is very hard on our cells. Among the reasons you want to avoid fluorescent light, when it comes specifically to airplane travel the blue light tells our bodies what time it is, and can affect your sleep rhythms by interfering with your internal melatonin production (this is also why we recommend getting off screens in the evenings).
When you’re travelling and crossing time zones, this can stress your body even more and make it hard to sleep when you want to. On my last flight to Europe I wore my blue light glasses as much as possible – whether I was watching a movie or reading a book – and I noticed a difference when I landed. You can easily pick them up at most optometrists, but ordering them online is also fast and efficient.
Try A Homeopathic Remedy
I trusted the recommendation from the owner of a local health food store, and taking the “Jet Lag” Homeopathic remedy for the days before and after my trip, as well as during the flight, helped me. Homeopathic remedies are generally safe to take, but be sure to check with your Health Professionals to be sure it’s right for you.
My last recommendation with travel is something I suggest in life in general…giving yourself something I call “grace and space”.
Life can be unpredictable, and travel even more so! Giving yourself permission to ease back into your schedule when you return, the grace to feel unsettled (or whatever feelings you have!) and the space to get reacquainted to your usual routines can be the biggest asset to support your travel adventures.