Traveling is part of doing business, but many trips can disrupt your work-life balance by putting your normal work schedule and personal routines out of whack. The result is that you end up tired, stressed, and cranky, which makes it tough to be at your business best.
I travel a lot for my job--around the world and zig-zagging across the country. (I've done the three cities in five days route many, many times.) I've found that the key to smoother business travel is to keep up your usual healthy routine as much as possible. It definitely takes some planning and commitment, but it pays off by helping me stay energized, focused, and mentally prepared for the business meetings ahead.
Here are my top five strategies for keeping your work and life in harmony while on the road:
Energy levels can plummet when you get dehydrated from traveling. Besides making sure that I drink plenty of water, I also pack several sports or protein drinks in my suitcase so I'm well stocked when I arrive at my destination.
I love BodyArmour, but there are many other drinks like coconut water and beet juice that offer a boost of vitamins and antioxidants to keep your body and mind fresh and ready to go. One study even found that milk is a good option for hydrating.
If you don't like checking suitcases, do some prep in advance and see where you can pick up your favorite drinks on the way to your hotel or business meeting.
A regular exercise routine is essential for maintaining my clarity during a workday, so I always look for hotels that have good workout rooms. (My favorites are the Westin and Marriott Hotels.) I also search online for SoulCycle classes that are within walking distance or a short Lyft ride away from my hotel. If I do spinning at the hotel gym, I often use my Peloton cycling app to watch a spinning class from my phone while on the bike.
And I always make room for yoga, because it helps me re-energize and stretch from cramped plane rides. It also helps me ground myself so I'm at my best in meetings. You can look for local yoga classes in the city or town you're visiting, or pull up an online yoga class on YouTube and do it in your hotel room. (My Dristhiq Yoga studio also offers various virtual classes.)
3. Bring healthy food with you.
It's easy to abandon healthy eating habits when you're on the road. The main obstacle is lack of good options from airport food courts and fast food restaurants. This is why I always prepare plenty of travel snacks and instant meals that I carry in my computer bag.
For example, mixed nuts, protein powder to mix with water, and KIND bars. I also bring oatmeal packets and green tea, in case it's not readily available at my destination, for a quick breakfast and mid-afternoon snack. This preparation helps me avoid overeating during business dinners or grabbing something unhealthy out of a vending machine. When you are prepared to fuel yourself with healthy foods, you'll find that you have more energy and mental focus on projects and in meetings compared to if you ate the carb and sugar-laden foods that are so readily available in airports and office break rooms.
Adequate sleep is tough because of time change, travel stress, and sleeping in a strange environment. I use a meditation app to help me relax, especially one that guides me through a body awareness exercise.
There are many great choices out there You can check out this study, which sorted through hundreds of meditation apps and ranked the top ones. I also have a playlist that I created on Spotify that you can try. By getting enough sleep using meditation apps and music as tools, you'll be better able re-energize yourself so that you stay consistently productive while on the road.
Business trips can also be an opportunity to visit new places and enjoy new experiences like great restaurants and local attractions. Taking some time out to explore is vital to help keep your work-life balance in sync. So plan some time in the evening or during your breaks to see the sights and try some local cuisine or specialties.
Business travel doesn't have to be stressful. By following these tips you can easily keep up with your healthy routines and maintain your sense of work-life harmony. With some careful planning and execution, you can stay in top mental and physical shape for wherever your next business trip takes you.
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