It’s mid-winter, and my clients are on the move! Whether they are traveling north to ski or south to sunbathe, they want to know how to stay healthy while away from home and their established routines. Here are some of the ideas that we have talked about in my treatment room over the past several weeks:
- Acknowledge that travel is stressful. Even when it is for pleasure, travel takes us out of our regular routines and places new demands upon our bodies. Long lines at the airport and unpredictable weather can stress our minds, while different time zones and climates challenge our bodies. These stressors can be more difficult than we anticipate, especially during the winter months when we tend to move and to respond to things a bit more slowly.
- Prepare your immune system. Stress, even good stress, can weaken your immune system. Sitting on an airplane next to someone with a hacking cough can place additional demands on your body’s defenses. Many of my clients feel that taking extra vitamins (especially C and zinc), a Chinese patent formula (Jade Windscreen and Astra-C are good choices), or an over-the-counter product such as Airborne, bolsters their immune system and helps to keep them healthy. Start adding supplements two days before travel and continue for two days into your vacation for added protection.
- Lighten your digestion. Eating lightly a day or two before traveling helps eliminate the sluggish and dull feelings commonly experienced after a long flight or car trip. Sticking primarily to fruits and vegetables before and during the first few days of travel can also help prevent constipation, a common traveler’s complaint.
- Get hydrated. No one wants to be inconvenienced while on vacation by having to constantly run to the bathroom. As a result, many people cut back on their fluid intake while traveling. This is not a good idea. Long days at the beach, in high altitudes, on a plane, or in a heated car can be extremely dehydrating. Even mild dehydration can lead to headache, feeling of nausea, and general crankiness. Make sure you drink enough water, especially during the day before and the first days of your vacation.
- Give yourself a break! While we all want to squeeze every possible moment out of our time away, many people do best if they have at least one free day at home right before and right after their vacation. People who try and squeeze numerous activities into the days right before a trip often end up spending the first few days of their vacation sick and/or too exhausted to enjoy themselves. Similarly, hitting the ground running immediately upon your return can counteract some of the stress-reducing benefits of a vacation. Try starting your “vacation” on the day before you actually leave, and extending it through the day after you return home.
Incorporate these suggestions as you plan your next vacation and see if they make a difference. Happy travels!