Have you ever wondered why sometimes you arrive in a destination ready to sightsee or hit the boardroom, whereas others you suffer terrible jet lag and come down with a head cold the minute you step off the plane? The state you arrive in, is going to heavily depend on what you did before, or during, the journey.
Drinking too much wine, filling up on processed plane food and staying up all night watching movies, even though it might be tempting, are sure-fire ways to end up arriving at your destination in a heap.
I want to share my top five travelling tips with you so you can look at changing some of your not so good habits, or tweaking your routine, so it works better for you:
Watch what you eat: Travelling, and moving about on planes, trains and buses, creates vata aggravation and causes imbalances like constipation. Eating on the move also puts pressure on digestion, as does what you eat. First of all, it’s better not to eat the food they give you on the aeroplane - otherwise you’re eating toxicity as it’s pre-prepared, frozen food which usually has a lot of chemicals and sprays for contamination. It’s the worst food to eat.
When I travel I like to take pre-prepared foods in a thermos then I can eat my regular food. I also bring another thermos with CCF tea (Cumin, Coriander and Fennel) and ask the stewardess to fill it up with boiling water once on the plane. This way I get to control what I drink, and how I drink, and feel nice, warm and nourished on the journey.
I always order the vegan or vegetarian meal in case they bring something that is OK to eat, then I have that option.
Raisins are really good food to carry, they pacify vata as they are sweet, slightly oily and nourishing, it helps with constipation and encouraging elimination. Triphala is another great herb to have handy as this also helps prevent constipation.
Avoid getting sick: Make sure you have proper clothing on the plane, so you’re warm and comfortable. I love to have my head and ears covered so the cold air does not enter my senses, as it does get cold. I also bring an eye mask so the light doesn’t affect my hormonal levels. Hormones make you feel sleepy at night, they also influence the timing of when you feel sleepy and awake (body clock or sleep-wake cycle). The hormone melatonin is released with darkness and tells your body it's time to sleep, which is critical for your recovery.
Another thing I never travel without is my kapho syrup (great for upper respiratory issues, colds and flues) and Andrographis herb (to increase white blood cell count) - I always take these as soon as I feel like I’m getting something as I don’t want to risk getting sick when I’m travelling for work, or pleasure. Usually I will have two- three-bottles of each as there are often people relying on me to fix them.
Winning routine: When you travel your regular routine gets thrown, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still design your day in a way that gives you energy, rather than depletes it. As soon as I’m a plane I will set the clock to the time zone that I’m going to and visualise myself there, this helps with setting the circadian rhythm and reducing jet lag.
Another thing that can help with jet lag is looking at the horizon when landing, this allows your body to connect with where you are in the world; once at the other destination it also helps to spend 20 minutes sitting in the sun to let your body get to know where it now is, and to adjust to the change.
Avoid getting too dry: Vata tends to dryness so it’s important to keep this in check. I always have an oil massage in the morning before I start my journey, then once there I will have another oil massage (even if I do it myself but I prefer to go for one and take my oil with me) followed by a bath, or an infrared sauna if available. This is an effective way to bring vata down fast, so you can feel rejuvenated. Sesame oil also works well to bring vata down when you get dryness in the head and sinuses; put a little ghee or sesame oil just on the inside of your nose to nourish the membranes.
The basics: The other things which will help is trying to sleep when you can, avoiding alcohol, drinking plenty of warm water and moving around - even if it’s just stretching your legs every couple of hours on the plane.
If you travel a lot for business your body might become aggravated and you may have trouble getting back into balance. If this feels like you, it could mean you’re ready for a detox, to re-ground and re-set your system. Many of my clients that travel often for work, make regular detoxes an integral part of their routine so they get to enjoy all aspect of their life and be at their best all year round.
Why don’t you start by working on 1-2 of the changes, and integrates this into your travel life - you will be giving your body the gift of reaching the other end in the best way possible.