With the holiday season in full gear, many of us will be traveling on a plane, train, or car for longer periods. Traveling is fun and exciting once you get to your destination, but let’s face it, getting there can be downright uncomfortable and hard on our bodies! We are exposed to a plethora of germs, cramped into small spaces, and forced to leave our daily fitness routines. We may make an effort to take good care of our bodies and not get sick prior to traveling, but continuing to do so while traveling is just as important. Here are 6 easy ways you can take care of your body while traveling this holiday season.
- D.I.Y. Aromatherapy Sniffer– Aromatherapy works by triggering different responses in the brain that can help your body overcome ailments and function at its best. There are amazing essential oil blends that can help fight colds, ease muscle pain and tension, and combat nausea. If you have a diffuser at home, you know how effective smelling essential oils can be at changing your mood and improving your health. The easiest way to benefit from essential oils while traveling is to put several drops onto a cotton ball and place that cotton ball somewhere where you can have easy access to. I like the idea of getting a travel size toiletry container you can buy at any drugstore and storing the cotton ball inside. Whenever you need a boost, just open it up and take a few sniffs. You can also pin the cotton ball to the inside of your shirt or jacket collar to have it on you at all times. Here are some suggested oils you can use to combat the most common travel ailments:
Nausea: Ginger, Peppermint, Lemon
Fatigue: Orange, Peppermint, Rosemary
Anxiety: Lavender, Chamomile, Bergamot
Viruses: Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Cinnamon, Lemon, Clove
- Disinfect– Carry antibacterial wipes with you to wipe down some of the most bacteria-filled areas you’ll be touching and eating off of while traveling. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten sick soon after a flight. We may not be able to help the fact that we are in such close quarters with people for a long period of time, but we can help prevent picking up a virus that could potentially ruin our vacation. We all know how dirty public bathroom flush, faucet, and door handles are, but did you know that the dirtiest surfaces on a plane are tray tables? Travelmath.com had a microbiologist measure the amount of bacteria on different parts of a plane and tray tables turned out to have the most bacteria. Drinking fountain buttons were the second dirtiest place. When flight attendants “clean” a plane, they’re picking up trash, but I can guarantee you no one has disinfected the seat belt buckles, tray tables, or items inside the seat pockets. Who cares if your neighbor thinks you’re OCD. Use those disinfecting wipes!
- Stretch– There’s nothing like a long plane or car ride to stiffen your muscles and joints. The best thing to do when sitting for a long time is to get up and walk around, but that’s not so easy when you’re in a car or stuck in the window seat on a plane. Stretching in your seat might be the only option. A great series to do while traveling would be 4 Chiropractor-Approved Stretches to Relieve Neck Pain and Tension. There are two other stretches I love to do while seated which is the Figure 4 stretch for my glutes and Cat Cow for my back. To do the Figure 4, cross one ankle over the other thigh while seated and simply lean forward. You will feel a stretch in the glute of the leg that is crossed over. This really helps relieve butt soreness and lower back tension from sitting for long periods. To do Cat Cow while seated, start sitting up straight with your hands resting on top of your thighs. Pull your navel in and drop your chin to chest to round the back, spreading the shoulder blades apart. Reverse the motion by arching your back and opening up the chest and shoulders. Do this several times to create mobility in the spine and release back tension.
- Acupressure Point Treatment– There is a pressure point on your hands that can heal numerous problems in the body. The fleshy space between your thumb and index finger joint, known as the hand valley point, has energy pathways that connect to the entire face and digestive system. So if you are having a headache, sinus pressure, toothache, or digestive issues, these are the points to press on. Press firmly onto the hand valley point with your opposite thumb and move your thumb in slow circles without releasing the pressure. Do this as long and as often as you’d like. If you are having an issue on one side of your body, it is the opposite hand you must apply pressure on to move the energy over to the other side that needs it more. I love massaging these points while traveling because they’re in places on your body that you can press easily and inconspicuously wherever you are.
- Hydrate– Dehydration makes everything worse when traveling. Without adequate hydration, muscles become more sore, digestion slows down, fatigue sets in and dry mucous membranes increase chances of getting sick. With the low level of humidity in cabin air, flights are particularly dehydrating. It is generally recommended to drink at least 8 ounces of water per hour in the air. Alcohol and caffeinated beverages don’t count because they promote dehydration. I like to buy a bottle of water before every trip and keep it nearby. Don’t rely on stopping somewhere once you’re thirsty or waiting for beverage service if you’re on a plane. Always have water on you and even if you aren’t feeling thirsty, continue to sip it throughout your journey.
- Meditate- The holidays can be a very busy time of year filled with work, travel, and family stress. Taking time to quiet your mind and practice meditating can be beneficial to your mood and health. How often are we stuck in one place at a time without a million other distractions? We may not like the idea of hours in a car or plane with no means of escape, but sometimes it’s exactly what we need! Take one, five, or ten minutes throughout your journey to stop, breathe, and release all tension from the body. If you only have a minute, stay as present as you can with a few breaths to check in with yourself. If you have more time, I would suggest closing your eyes and doing an entire body scan starting from the top of your head down to your toes. Check into every body part, breathing into it and observing where you are holding tension. Once you’ve made your way down to your feet, you’ll notice you have significantly slowed down your heart rate and released stress. Taking care of our minds is just as important as taking care of our bodies, so allow yourself to unwind your mind.
Do these 6 things on your next travel journey to arrive at your destination feeling better both physically and mentally. Let’s start the new year off feeling fresh, healthy, and rejuvenated!
What are your tips for staying healthy while you travel?
Also by Crystal: 5 Exercises to Get Rid of Back Fat (Video)
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