One of the perks of traveling for business purposes is being able to spend time in a new place without worrying about hotel and food & beverage costs. However, because of that perk, it can be easy to let the idea of an expense account and free time in a new place get in the way of you maintaining a healthy lifestyle. If you are setting out on a lengthy business trip, being away from home can take a toll on your health and well being. The disruption to your normal life patterns, the hard work and the stress of making connections and traveling can cause health issues, even to the point of illness while you’re on the road.
It is for this reason that maintaining a healthy lifestyle while on the road will pay off during - and after - your trip and make the rigors of travel much less serious. Much of the discipline of business travel involves simply introducing a daily routine during your time away from home that includes healthy choices and activities so you can keep your physical, mental and emotional state in good shape and ready for business each day. Below are five simple but effective rules to live by for a healthy business travel experience.
1. Maintain Your Sleep Routine: A good night’s sleep is something we take for granted but has a significant impact on our ability to function the next day if we don’t rest properly. When traveling for business, you will likely have a lot on your mind and to get into a rested state it takes more than just a bed, a pillow and an alarm clock. You have a routine at home that you rely on to help you unwind and get your body and mind ready for a good night’s sleep. Adapt that routine to life on the road and you’ll find that you will be able to get a restful sleep just about anywhere. One easy way to do so, is to bring things from home that will help you maintain your bedtime routine. For example, consider bringing your favorite pillowcase, an essential oil diffuser, an eye mask, earplugs and/or anything else you may need.
2. Exercise: Almost all hotels have an exercise room and/or pool you can use to exercise. Sitting in airplanes and conference rooms for hours at a time can put a lot of stress on your body and keep you from maintaining good physical and mental health. Even if it’s just taking a walk after dinner or doing some simple exercises at the hotel, make time to move. One good tip you can follow to make sure you are motivated to make time for physical activities, is to pack workout clothes and shoes with you.
3. Eat Well: When you’re away from home it can be easy to be tempted to indulge in unhealthy foods. To maintain a healthy lifestyle, look for restaurants that will serve you healthy meals, and make sure you eat nutritious foods that make you feel good both physically and mentally, each day. In addition, if your hotel room has a kitchenette, consider purchasing healthy, whole foods from the local grocery store to prepare yourself a healthy meal in your room.
4. Limit Alcoholic and Sugary Beverages: Similar to unhealthy foods, unhealthy beverages - both alcoholic and nonalcoholic - can be tempting. And, just like with unhealthy foods, consuming unhealthy drinks can have a negative effect on your body and take away from you being able to focus on your work and/or enjoying the new place you’re in. Instead of an alcoholic beverage, consider a nonalcoholic alternative or consuming only one drink. In addition, be mindful of sugary drinks as they too can have a negative impact on your health. Instead of having a can of soda (even “diet”) opt for flavored sparkling water. While avoiding unhealthy drinks may seem like an inconvenience, the beneficial long term effects will make it worthwhile.
5. Enjoy Your Time Not Working: For the sake of your mental health, take some time just for you. When you’re not required to be working, take advantage of the fact you are somewhere away from home and enjoy the things the new place you are in has to offer. Perhaps visit a museum, go see an attraction or maybe try an interesting restaurant - or all of the above! There are many things you can do while away on business to give your mind a break from the stress of work, and it’s something you need to do to recuperate and stay on top of your responsibilities during your trip.
Some of these ideas may seem extremely simple and obvious. However, if you’ve travelled for business before, you know that sometimes the simple requirement of a healthy diet and setting some time to yourself to exercise and rest can be tricky to do with a busy work schedule.
Also, these tips apply equally at home as well as on gruelling road trips. Our friends Ferenc and Evelin at OverLandSite.com used these and other techniques to stay healthy and fit during their cross-continents journey in 2018. See how they did it at https://overlandsite.com/blog/stay-fit-and-healthy-overlanding/.
If you make it a priority to live as well on the road as you do at home, you will come home in good health and feel like you are ready to get back into the rhythm of your everyday life.
Safe - and healthy - travels!