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Business travel can be, by definition, stressful. Delays may mean a missed meeting. Flights may be at odd hours. At the end of the work day, you don't go home but to a hotel room.
You can ease the stress of travel by adopting a healthy attitude and building personal time into your schedule.
The payoff for incorporating wellness in your travel plans can include improved physical well-being, mental alertness and better job performance.
The following suggestions can help reduce the stress of travel:
Avoid connecting flights, peak travel times and busy airports. Take nonstop flights whenever possible to avoid layovers and decrease your chances of delayed or canceled flights. Likewise, avoid travel on Mondays and Fridays and flights that depart or arrive between 7 and 9 a.m. and 4 and 7 p.m.
Schedule extra time to get there. Allow yourself plenty of time to rent a car and register for your hotel or conference in order to avoid the stress of rushing.
Do a pre-trip workout. Exercise promotes circulation and helps to keep you alert. Remember to get up and move, whether you are on a plane, or on a break during a meeting.
Adopt a healthy attitude. There's no use worrying about things you can't control, such as flight delays or canceled flights. Have a relaxing backup plan to fill your extra time, such as reading a book.
Practice deep breathing. Relax your abdominal muscles and take "belly" breaths, inhaling slowly and deeply into your abdomen and then your lungs.
Take time for yourself. Plan ahead to see friends for dinner or lunch when traveling to a distant city. Read a book you enjoy instead of business briefs in the evening. Listen to music instead of sales tapes when driving.
Create a personal travel mantra. Come up with a positive phrase to help you cope with in-transit stress. For example: Repeating the phrase "I am where I'm supposed to be," may help you relax when a situation beyond your control develops.
However you travel — by plane, car, boat or train — there's no escaping lots of sitting.
To avoid back, neck and leg pain, practice dynamic sitting — a way of sitting that allows your bones, instead of your muscles and ligaments, to support your body. To sit this way: Slightly arch your lower back and distribute your weight evenly over your pelvic bones. Don't cross your legs. Keep your shoulders and abdomen relaxed and slightly arch your neck.
Choosing a rental car with an adjustable seat is important if you'll be driving a lot. Ask the attendant to help you with the adjustments, and then use them to support your back and neck, especially if you are in a lot of traffic.
Sitting for long periods of time can increase the risk for blood clots. Get up and walk down the aisle once an hour if possible on long flights. Another preventive move while sitting is to pump your calf muscles. To do this, push down with your toes and lift your heels 5 to 10 times every hour.
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