As the pandemic anxiety reduces, more of us are back on the road for work, travelling to various locations to teach, train, hold meetings and other activities. While it is nice to get out of our regular routine and travel, there is an impact from travelling on the health and wellbeing that we must address.
Last week I travelled to Las Vegas and Montreal and back again, and while it is amazing to be back in the classroom and conference halls, there is also a health and wellness reality that if not acknowledged will keep us repeating the same mistakes. Prior to the pandemic, billions of dollars were spent on business travel every year which became a growing expenditure for many global organizations.
Travelling for work can affect much of your routine and wellness practices. As someone with a restrictive diet, I found myself with very limited choices. Here are some key challenges that came up and how I addressed them.
Exercise – I walked everywhere as much as possible and went out for walks in the afternoons to enjoy the scenery, staying safe on well lighted streets and with others.
Sleep – It is sometimes hard to sleep in strange beds. I must admit, I have an amazing bed at home so it’s even more challenging to adjust to hotel beds. Instead of social media before bed, I save my least favourite readings for just before bed, so I have no problem falling asleep from boredom.
Food – I am very particular with my food. Having been born with only one functioning kidney, I have lived my entire life paying close attention to what goes into my body. At home, I cook most of my meals, so what I eat while travelling does pose a problem. To address this challenge, I plan ahead and researched to ensure I was booked into hotels that offered a mini-fridge or I secured a cooler bag. I took food with me that would stay fresh such as homemade gluten free crackers and granola. I chose restaurants where I could get grilled chicken, and also requested sauces and salad dressings on the side.
Water – Drinking adequate water is sometimes a challenge when travelling. Did you know that Uber offers stops that allow you to pick up water or groceries on your way to your hotel? Airplane travel can lead to dehydration so I purchased a bottle of water after clearing customs or take along an empty bottle to fill up so I can stay hydrated.
Loneliness – Loneliness can be an issue when we travel as we miss unwinding with family and friends. Travellers are vulnerable to being preyed on because they miss their social connections and are prone to seek companionship that may not be ideal. I have a handy husband I take along for the extended trips, and I shopped when I was alone. Hey! Shopping is a great way to get social interactions, you get to talk to the tellers.
Studies show that employees who travel for work have higher rates of obesity and chronic diseases than those who don’t. As we resume regular activities after the pandemic, let’s go back out smarter, armed with more information and a wellness mindset to maintain a healthy immune system to keep us healthy and free from diseases.
As you prepare to travel to friendly Winnipeg to attend the Global Workplace Wellness Summit this September, we have already taken into consideration some of these pointers. Our venue is in a community with lots of shops and restaurants to explore, within walking distance.
Register now to receive early bird pricing before May 1st and a chance to win a 1-page feature of yourself in Faces of Workplace Wellness magazine.
To Your Wellness,