8 Tips for Staying Well while Traveling
You may be spending the days prior to and after the Christmas holiday traveling across the country, sitting in heavy traffic, busy public places, and crowded buzzing airports and planes. All of this mingling around with the general public means contact exposes you to many of the cold and flu germs that are being passed around right now. Your immune system may be challenged due to stress, lack of sleep, too much Holiday Cheer and an altered diet (usually poor food choices this time of year).
All of this is good reason to do what you can to keep your immune system healthy and strong this time of year. That will help insure your health and happiness and keep you ready for any festive events you may have planned when visiting family and friends!
With this in mind, I have compiled Top 8 tips for staying well while traveling. During all the hustle and bustle, remember to make yourself a priority and take the time and make the extra effort to keep yourself well!
1. Frequently Wash Your Hands - This is KEY when traveling. Airplanes are known to be one of the worst places for germs and bacteria, as are airports and other heavily traveled areas. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with your hands, as these are portals for germs to enter the body. This is also true when eating out in restaurants, especially after touching the chairs, booths, menus, salt & pepper shakers, which are all known to be havens for germs. Carry Thieves Waterless Hand Purifier with you at all items. When you touch a handrail or another area you know to be heavily used, pull it out of your pocket, backpack or handbag and USE IT! Use soap and hot water to wash your hands frequently, then follow with Thieves Waterless Hand Purifier. Keep in mind, however, that for most airlines each liquid in your carry-on bags must be in a bottle or container with a maximum volume of 3.4 oz. Thieves Waterless Hand Purifier is only 1oz. so you should be fine to carry it in your purse or carry-on bag.
2. Stay Hydrated - Drink plenty of pure filtered water prior to entering your gate, where you know they have strict rules about liquids. Once inside, unfortunately, you will have to purchase the super-pricey bottled water to satiate your self during your flight. Drinking plenty of water can really make a difference in keeping your immune system strong throughout a busy vacation. Avoid coffee, black tea, and alcohol which can all lead to further dehydration. Pack a small bag full of various herbal teas to use on the plane and in restaurants. I keep a bag of teas in my purse at all times, traveling or not, for this purpose. That way you only need to request hot water to make yourself a healthy beverage! My favorites are: peppermint, chai rooibos, and ginger. Another great travel tip is to pack a small bag of chia seeds. Add a few to your bottle of water and drink throughout the day for added energy throughout the day as well as a dose of healthy Omega-3 fats and antioxidants! The chia seeds will actually also help to stabilize your blood sugar, an added bonus! Also, pack a fresh lemon in your bag and squeeze the juice into your water or tea to alkalize your body and for an added boost of vitamin C.
3. Bring Snacking Supplies - Be prepared for day-long trips and travel munchies by topping off your carry-on bags with apples, cherries, carrots, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, almonds, homemade trail mix, avocado, quinoa salad, raw food bars, dark chocolate, flax crackers, rice cakes, or other snack foods you might enjoy. Bring a small container of almond butter for a nice spread or dip. Stay away from the airport and airplane offerings which may contain high fructose corn syrup, pesticides, preservatives and other poisons, and which can impair immunity. Before you leave, research where to find fresh organic food options once you get to where you are going and make a point to hit up the store upon arrival to keep yourself stocked with healthy options for the duration of your trip.
4. Plan Your First Meal- A very common mistake for most people is waiting until the last minute to get everything together and then rushing out the door without eating. This leaves you hungry and sitting in the airport or in heavy holiday traffic with only access to super-processed off-the-highway or airport industrial food, which is not only less tasty than real food, but also sorely lacking in nutritional value, and potentially harmful to your immune system (your whole body!). If you have to eat some processed food along your journey, look for as "close to the source" options as you can find such as mixed nuts or dried fruit. Avoid easy go-to's like potato chips and pastries. If you have to leave super early, make yourself a breakfast burrito, an almond butter and banana sandwich or green smoothie (or both) the night before and store in your refrigerator overnight. Leave yourself a note on your bags so you don't forget to grab them on your way out in the morning. Your tummy and your conscience will thank you for planning ahead.
5. Remember to Breathe - When joining the millions of other people traveling this holiday season, patience can make the difference between a pleasant trip and a stressful one. Prepare yourself for delays in advance so that if things go smoothly and on-time you are pleasantly surprised! Understand that everyone around you is also going somewhere and that being impatient is only going to negatively effect your own energy balance as well as potentially that of others around you. Utilize your breath. When stress starts to build, take a moment to breathe in deeply through the nose, hold for 3 seconds, and release. Repeat. Deep breathing has been shown to be one of the best ways to lower stress in the body and anxiety of the mind. The best thing about this is the deep breathing can be done anywhere and costs nothing! Once you reach your gate or airplane seat, continue to calm your mind and de-stress your body through quiet meditation. The holidays are supposed to be a time of love and compassion for others (ideally so is every day life), not a time for projecting your personal stress on to strangers. Deep breath, in and out...and on with your day.
6. Pack Layers & Dress Comfortably- This one may seem like a given, but many people forget how cold those overhead air vents on the plane can make your flight experience, even if only the person next to you is using it. Also, temperature changes from outside to the plane, to wherever you are going can lead to uncomfortable situations and added stress, so remember to wear something warm and comfy. Bring a zip up jacket or small blanket. The airport or the car are not the places to be worried about fashion, just make yourself cozy and you are more likely to remain comfortable and pleasant throughout your trip.
7. Eat Well - Just because you are leaving home for a few days or weeks, doesn't mean you have to let go of all your typical food habits. Don't beat yourself up for having a piece of pie or Christmas cookie, but believe me when I say, it's no fun to make yourself sick by going overboard with things you normally wouldn't eat. I made this mistake earlier this year: on vacation in California I decided being at the ocean wharf meant eating a large bowl of fresh clam chowder would be ok, even though I have avoided dairy for over two years now. MISTAKE. I ended up feeling terrible and dizzy, and spending the next 10 minutes after our meal in the bathroom trying not to throw up the meal I'd just enjoyed. When we start making positive changes to our eating habits, our bodies adjust to this new way of eating, and your body doesn't know the difference between holiday vacation and not, so just be smart. Let yourself have a little fun, but don't make it a point to go back on all the positive progress you've made. You'll be happy you stuck to your conscious eating throughout the holidays, I promise.
8. Consume Garlic - Garlic is highly immune-boosting and a perfect addition to meals during the cold and flu season. When I start to feel a sickness coming on, I make sure to get plenty of garlic (cooked and raw) into my diet to give my white blood cells the support they need to fight off germs! Another good tool to have in your germ-fighting tool box, by the way, is Thieves Hard Lozenges. Packed with the power of anti-bacterial, anti-fungal essential oils, they are perfect for travel and fit nicely into a purse or pocket.
Article by Rachel Hoffman (www.goodnessmegoddess.com)