...something we’re all aware of thanks to the abundance of content currently surrounding the topic! Now more than ever, it is important to find out what wellness looks like for you. My personal idea of wellness looks in many ways different than that of my girlfriends. My approach took many years to identify, map out, and establish… and I am, and will forever be in process of identifying and practicing wellness.
Travel has become a means of wellness for me. During my first overseas trip, I’d gotten a taste of adventure that changed me completely. This was a time before social media—blogging had just begun to take root—and our cellphone provider didn’t have international plans yet. All this to say, I was completely disconnected from my normal life, relying only upon the watch on my wrist and memorizing the streets I roamed. No facebook or Instagram to "check in" or post my ootd. I found a new form of wellness, and I couldn’t get enough!
Fast-forward a couple of years after that trip…and I made my first flight to the opposite side of the globe. A mere 35 hours got me from Dallas to Sri Lanka, with an overnight stay in Dubai. This was also the first time I realized there was a right and wrong way to travel… not necessarily in terms of manners or customs (although important) but rather, in practcing wellness. At the time, I was not yet in a place in life where I prioritized wellness in significant way, and it became sorely evident during this particular trip. I did not allow myself to sleep the entire first leg of the flight (16 hours), I ate too much of the food served on the place, and I did not walk around or drink enough water. This resulted in the most miserable first 3-4 days of travel.
So how do you maintain wellness during your travels? Whether a road trip, a short flight to the next state, or an intense day-long journey to another continent, knowing how to take care of your mind + body during the process could be all the difference you need to make the most of your journey. Here are just a few things I've learned over the last several years.
I cannot stress enough the importance of drinking plenty of water. Especially in airports and on the plane, where it can be tempting to grab coffee or cocktails, but these only cause you to become dehydrated when consumed in excess. For me, coffee = comfort so can be especially difficult! But nothing compares to the feeling of being hydrated… that goes for everyday!
NO HEAVY/PROCESSED FOODS
in the airport or on the flight. If any of these pieces of advice requires creativity, it’s this one. Eating heavy, processed food only causes your digestion to slow to a halt, especially while sitting in a cramped seat for several hours. It's a challenge because airports have endless choices of every food you could possibly want... and with the excitement or anxiousness of travel, you may be tempted to indulge in those comforts. My way around this is to first, pack my own snacks! Secondly, try to avoid the airplane food! If there’s anything healthy and light, great (recently had seaweed soup on Korean Air… it was healthy and comforting). I always make room in my carry-on for some combination of fresh and dried fruit (a box of blueberries, dried apple rings, and quartered oranges are my favorite), raw cashews, homemade trail mix, or Larabars. All whole, natural foods that are nutrient dense (the antioxidants will keep you feeling fresh for your arrival!) and will keep you satisfied. Even with healthy snacks, its better to only consume what is necessary and not overdo it! That being said...
EAT FRESH AND LIGHT
during your stay. Just as eating heavy, processed foods before travel wreak havoc on your body; it also exacerbates any jetlag you may try to creep up on you. If you’re staying at a resort with an endless breakfast buffet, or there’s an endless amount of food at your fingertips (NYC, anyone?), always lean toward smaller portions, and incorporate as much fresh fruits & veggies as possible. While traveling, my husband & I always locate where we can get fresh juice, especially anything with ginger! It gives you energy, clears your mind, and cleanses your body of that travel funk. My last trip to Thailand, our hotel served a drink made from the flower of Butterfly pea—which is native to Thailand—along with lemongrass and lemon. It was so cleansing and revitalizing. I had it several times a day! A resort we once stayed at served and endless amount of fresh, local fruit all day long. Look for these types of things wherever you stay! You’ll get a taste of local flavors, all while staying healthy.
It's worth pointing out that, eating clean and light during the majority of your days traveling makes the splurges so much more enjoyable! I mean... when in Paris, someone has to eat all those croissants, right?? Eating clean and heathy during the majority of our time there helps me enjoy all the buttery goodness when I do indulge! Remember- there are so many local flavors to experience... budget your appetite wisely :)
MAKE A SLEEP SCHEDULE
and stick to it! I always say, “sleep when your destination is sleeping!” Example: say you’re going to Thailand, which is complete opposite US time, so you’re bound to have serious jetlag if you don’t prepare your internal clock beforehand! If your flight leaves at 10am, it’s about 10pm there, so get to sleep as soon as possible! When traveling somewhere the time zone is drastically different in terms of when you sleep/wake, keep track of your destination time zone by adding that city to the world clock on your phone! Just as you should sleep, also stay awake during your destination’s waking hours! I usually have to prepare before my flight by either staying up late at possible, or drinking cherry juice, which has lots of tryptophan! My favorite pre-flight elixer is the Dream On from my local juice shop- Juice Junkies! It's a mix of their house-made almond milk and cold-pressed tart cherry juice! It tastes like a dream and it helps you get some zzz's.
CLEAR YOUR MIND
of stress, pressure, and the constant striving to do the most. Relax; remember why you’re traveling. Whether for work or holiday, rise a little early in the morning and create a sacred space where your mind cannot be cluttered. Go for a quick work out, practice meditation or yoga, have a quiet cup of coffee while journaling… Whatever it is that grounds you and brings gratefulness to the surface, do that (remember- your phone isn’t invited). I always travel with my favorite workout clothes and shoes, so no excuses! Amazing how taking those moments to quiet your mind, get your body moving, help you maximize your day by giving you energy and clearing your mind.
the key to wellness is to know what makes you feel your best, and do it!
The next time you travel, I hope you’ll find great benefit from these ideas… and any others you’re inspired to incorporate! Ditch the mindset that uses vacation as a reason for endless splurging (by all means though, do splurge and enjoy occasionally!) I think the key to wellness while traveling--and everyday for that matter--is to know what makes you feel your best. This takes years of establishment in healthy habits, so best to get started sooner than later! I made up my mind that my travels will be done with my same everyday approach to wellness. Making these changes made me realize when I prioritize health, mindfulness, and a grateful heart, the rest is so much richer.