This post has lots of tips on how to stay healthy during holiday travel. I also shared the top 5 things I did during my 4 consecutive weeks of travel (personal + work trips) to stay healthy (and sane!).
Disclosure: I’m partner with MinuteClinic as part of their Healthy Holiday campaign. As part of my involvement, this is a sponsored post from MinuteClinic, but all opinions expressed are purely my own.
Tommy and I were talking last night about how ready we are to get back on our routines. The holidays are lovely, but man, they take a number on us since we are both creatures of habit. On top of all the holiday parties, I’ve had a LOT of travel in the past month, which isn’t that unusual for me at year-end with my job. But while it’s not unusual, it still wipes me out.
There is the stress of different time zones and different hotel beds. Then there is all the food and all the drinks at all the parties. And then that often leads to skipping all the workouts. Add the holiday season on top of that and the stress of all the to-do lists and the stress of family get-togethers (be honest, we all face that at times!) and it all starts to take a toll. With too much travel and too much stress, I often start to feel terribly icky, physically and mentally.
When I start to feel completely frazzled, I take a step back to evaluate the craziness and try to find ways that I can take back my health, especially when I have a lot of travel in the midst of the craziness. After 4 back-to-back weeks of travel this holiday season (1 personal trip, 3 work trips) where I managed (relatively 😉 ) well and stayed healthy (so far!), I noted a few things that made a huge difference for me.
1. I took alone time every day. I tried not to overplan/overcommit every free hour, and I took downtime when I could since there were many bursts of activity and non-negotiable events. If I’m going nonstop from dawn to bedtime, I do NOT function and I start to get, well, not very nice. I’m an introvert in the sense that I recharge by being alone.
3. I prioritized sleep. I don’t function without 7+ hours of sleep. Yeah, yeah, I know “Wait ’til you have kids.” But the fact is, I don’t have kids and I’m not accustomed to getting less than that right now and I’m a super finicky sleep as it is. So, I acknowledge and respect my current needs and prioritize my health by doing whatever I can to get enough sleep. And that allows me to function better and be my best self during my trips. And being my best self is important since I don’t get to see my loved ones in Utah enough!
4. I ate well and indulged well. Year round, I try to eat healthy 85% of the time and indulge 15% of the time, all the time. When I travel and during the holidays, that ratio may slip to 80/20 or 70/30, but I try not to just have a “eh, ’tis the season!” attitude and dig into anything and everything because I feel like CRAP when I eat like crap.
I choose my indulgences carefully. Homemade toffee that my friend makes once a year? Totally worth it. Gluten-free snickerdoodle at one of my favorite coffee shops in Utah? Worth it. Candy I can buy year-round that happens to be in the shape of a Christmas tree? Not worth it. (Looking at you Reese’s…and Justin’s cups are better anyway.)
5. I set an alcohol limit set BEFORE I went anywhere. And when I’m traveling, usually that limit is zero. Since I feel like I’m chronically dehydrated when I travel, I try not to make it any worse with alcohol. This is an especially good tip when you’re traveling to holiday parties. Set a limit in advance and stick to it! Maybe your limit is zero at one party and 3 drinks at a different party. Or maybe your limit is zero, always. Maybe you always alternate one alcoholic beverage with a glass of water. Whatever it is, identify your plan BEFORE you go and tell at least one person what your plan is for some accountability. I have two go-to plans:
And don’t give in to peer pressure to drink because soon enough, the people peer pressuring you will be too drunk to realize that the soda water in your glass is only soda water and not vodka water. Besides, we’re all adults here – we’re allowed to say no. And the beauty of it all is that they’ll be hungover the next morning and you won’t. Cheers to that!
Here are some additional tips to help you stay healthy for upcoming trips! Prevention and preparation is the best medicine, right? I’m basically a doctor. (Jokes, jokes – I’m NOT a doctor. Please refer to your medical professional if you really need medical help or advice. Or Google. Google never lies, right?)
If motion sickness is a concern, try these tips:
Unfortunately, you’re more likely to get sick when you travel. Germs spread more easily when you’re around others in confined spaces like cars, airplanes, and airports. And, you’re more susceptible because you typically get less rest and exercise and eat outside your normal diet. (Another reason sleep and exercise are part of my top 5 tips!!)
There are a few basic hygiene tips that can help you stay healthy (maybe y’all can print these and hand them out on the plane or to all your family members… juuuuust kidding 😉 )
Alright, people, I’m off to bed since I have had a sore throat come on today. (Noooo!) So I’m taking my own advice and getting some sleep. If you have any awesome tips to stay healthy when traveling, please share!