Updated: Oct 10, 2019
Traveling can be both exhilarating and stressful. Here are the 10 best mindful travel tips for a sane and healthy adventure.
These days I spend a lot of time in planes and automobiles. Changes in sleep, diet and exercise routines, not to mention time away from loved ones can compromise my mood and health. Here are my favorite tips and practices for maintaining health and balance on and off "the road".
1. First and foremost, set an intention to take time out for self-care each day and make a plan. Without an intention and a plan, it’s likely that the day will be over before you realize you’ve taken no time out for yourself.
2. Make room for short pauses throughout the day. I make it a point to schedule space between meetings so that I can step outside or take a walk.
Just a couple of minutes of paying attention to the breath and lengthening your exhale, putting your phone down to gaze at your surroundings, or doing a quick relaxation exercise are worth their weight in gold. Even a little can go a long way. Tip: Resist the urge to use this time to check your email.
3. Look for opportunities to renew everywhere. If you’re near a park or a green space, give yourself 15 minutes to take a walk, practice some intentional breathing or watch the wildlife.
4. Carry your tools with you. Pack a small journal in your laptop case and grab opportunities when you’re flying, riding in a cab or sitting in a waiting room to write. A gratitude journal can be a great way to be in the present moment and recognize the goodness around you.
5. Find a local yoga or meditation studio and attend a class during a break, lunch or dinner hour. These days, studios are in everything from major airports to business concourses, and business pants are designed for quick yoga or meditation practices.
6. Get up a few minutes early each day to move your body. Many hotels are situated near park blocks, or have small gyms or pools. Forgo getting immersed in your email and begin your day with a brisk walk or some stretches. A happy body is key to managing travel stress and fatigue.
7. Pet a dog. Research shows even a moment petting a furry creature can increase levels of your feel-good hormone, oxytocin.
8. Take time and smell the roses. It may sound cliché, but stopping to appreciate a garden and taking in its fragrance can stimulate the relaxation response and boost your mood.
9. Get plenty of rest and eat healthy, nourishing foods. Sure, it’s tempting to indulge in rich food or that extra glass of wine when you travel. Maintaining a regular sleep schedule and eating right are key to keeping your mood and energy level in check.
10. Incorporate as many of these tips as possible into your daily life. Yes, it can seem more difficult to take breaks when bombarded by the pressures of work, family, friends and other commitments. Making space for you is your greatest asset. Set an intention to do one or more of these things each day.
Remember, even small breaks can yield great benefits to your health, happiness and productivity. Safe travels.