Travel is amazing for so many reasons. It allows us to see new places and connect with new people. It gives us the opportunity to connect with faraway family and friends. And travel can help us shake a sense of monotony and make us grateful for home when we return.
But travel can also seriously throw off our bodies and make us feel less than healthy.
Because of that, healthy travel recovery is just as important as planning for a healthy trip.
These are the ways that I bring my body back into a state of wellness after returning home.
Healthy Travel Recovery
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Earlier this week, I was beyond excited to return home from a month of traveling. But a missed connecting flight meant that a friend and I spent the night in an airport.
Already exhausted and feeling quite bloated, I now needed to find three healthy-ish meals at the airport.
No matter how much we plan for a healthy trip, there are always circumstances outside of our control.
I was frustrated, but I knew how this change of plans would likely impact my body, so I knew how I could help myself once I returned home.
How Traveling Can Impact Your Health
- Disrupted routine – If you rely on a self-care routine, its disruption can make you feel off-balance.
- Exercise – Depending on the location of travel or your reason for going there, exercise might be more difficult.
- Stress – Coordinating details, catching a flight, finding a bathroom in a new place – all of these things can cause stress. Stress can negatively impact the digestive system, sleep, and blood pressure. It can also cause headaches, making it more difficult to navigate difficult situations.
- Diet – It’s common while traveling to eat out more often or have someone else cook for you. If you have a restricted diet, you may have trouble finding food that works for you or end up eating ingredients (known or unknown) that you normally wouldn’t.
Planning for a healthy Trip
There are so many ways to prepare to travel healthily.
- Consider ways that you can stick to your routine. If there’s space in your luggage, bring items that will help you with this. For instance, for a recent trip to a 10-day teacher professional development program, I packed my yoga mat and my Nutribullet. Being able to do yoga and make daily smoothies meant that I felt far better at the end of 10 intense days than I did last year at the end of the same program.
- Plan for no-equipment exercise routines. If you’re going somewhere safe to run, pack your shoes and pound the pavement. Resistance bands don’t take up much space and can add intensity to many workouts. You can also save no-equipment workout videos to your phone to do in your hotel room when you have free time.
- Follow these 5 tips for traveling with a restricted diet. Keeping some healthy foods in my hotel mini fridge instead of solely relying on restaurants saved me on this last trip.
- Know how you de-stress best. In moments of anxiety, it can be harder to make positive decisions for ourselves. Be aware of what you need to keep your stress levels low, and plan for it. If meditation is your thing, set aside time to do it. If you need to move, use your hotel gym or find a walking path. Maybe yoga is a must for you; find a class, or practice sun salutations on a mat or towel.
Healthy Travel Recovery
While planning for a healthy trip can do wonders, it’s also important to understand that we will encounter circumstances that are outside of our control.
One lesson that I’m focusing on is to be patient with my body and how life impacts it. Stress happens. So do disruptions to my routine. Wallowing in frustration about those things won’t help me feel better. But when I understand that I’m doing my best and will have the opportunity to recover, I keep myself from worsening the problem through stress.
Here is what I do to recover from travel.
- Hydrate – I focus on the goal of drinking half my body weight in ounces every day. Water supports digestion, the skin, circulation, the kidneys, the absorption of nutrients, and more. Drinking enough water is especially important when I’m returning to Colorado, where it is more difficult to stay hydrated.
- Resume my sleep schedule – Sleep can be difficult for me even at home, so different beds and time zones are sure to throw me off. When I get home, it’s helpful to impose a bedtime and to set an alarm for the next morning. I might be unhappy about my wake-up time the first morning, but it will help me get back into a sleep schedule, which is better for my sleep long-term.
- Reestablish my routine – In this post, I talked about how having IBS has led me to establish a routine for health. I hope that no one assumes that I love this routine because I’m a highly organized person; I need it because I’m really not. Morning and evening routines allow me to fit all of my self-care and health needs into my day, giving me more time for freedom and creativity later. To recover from travel, it’s really important for me to settle back into this routine.
- Focus on simple, whole foods – Traveling often means eating out more, which involves consuming more salt and other hidden ingredients. This always leaves me feeling bloated and unhappy. So when I get home, I try to limit eating out. I make meals with lots of veggies and proteins to bring my digestive system back into a state of calm.
- Exercise – Movement helps with bloating and digestive function. I like to get in some workouts that are harder to do when traveling, like toning routines using weights.
- Self-care – To feel grounded after being away from home, I make sure to meditate daily and use my diffuser for calming essential oil blends.
- Support the digestive system – All of the above steps will support the digestive system, which is a huge regulatory force in my body. I also try to drink warm liquids to ease my digestive system, especially my apple cider vinegar morning tonic.
While this may seem like a long list, integrating these tips for healthy travel recovery into my everyday life help me feel grounded and balanced.
What do you do to recover from traveling?