Healthy Travel Tips for the Holidays (and Business) Part 1 by Andrea Joy Cohen, MD @2012, www. drandreajoycohen.com
Be sure to listen to Dr. Andrea Joy Cohen Health Radio on Sunday November 11th and 18th at 12PM where Dr. Cohen discusses this topic in detail at www. blogtalkradio.com/andreajoycohen. You can write me your questions in advance at firstname.lastname@example.org and the question might be discussed during the show or call in during the show at 619-768-7266. The specific link for this show is http://www.blogtalkradio.com/andreajoycohen/2012/11/11/healthy-travel-tips-for-the-holidays-business-pt-1.
Many of us travel by plane (or car, bus, boat, or train) for business and during the holiday season, and wish to stay healthy end enjoy the trip. For many of us we are able to maintain our health, energy level, and enjoy a great time, but for others holiday travel brings with it sleepless nights, exhaustion, colds, cranky kids and (perhaps) spouse. Many people have experienced health issues during or after the flight.
During this blog and during my radio show, I will discuss some of the typical issues people face before, during and after travel. These might include stress, exhaustion, anxiety, “crankiness/ungroundedness/spaciness syndrome”, dehydration, colds, sinus issues, nausea, food issues, low oxygen(hypoxia), blood clots in the legs and lungs (DVT and pulmonary emboli), allergies, back pain, malaise (feeling lousy) fear of flying, jet lag, unhappy kids and more. Most of these issues are preventable, and/or treatable.
Now, I am a very optimistic person and do not expect that you are going to have trouble with these issues when you travel! And I am not wanting to provoke anxiety with this list; helping you to be more comfortable and healthy– so intend and expect the best; ”stuff happens” on occasion so it is good to be informed and prepared in advance if this feels correct for you.
On the radio show, I will then help you in setting the intention for a great healthy and enjoyable trip and describe some essential tips for preventing travel issues, ideas on how to keep up your vitality and travel in comfort and really experience your ideal trip for you and your family. Also, we may talk about what to bring along in your travel kit and carry-on.
This blog and radio show are for educational purposes only and not personalized medical advice or treatment. For personalized medical advice and treatment, please see your doctor.
The first step is to set a strong intention, and even visualize and believe it that you and yours will stay healthy during this trip. You can add some prayers if this feels right for you. Considering letting go of the old stories of past trips “I always get a cold when I fly” and give yourself a fresh start. Expect the best!
Tip 1: Get adequate and extra rest and sleep and take good care of yourself beforethe trip to the trip. Yes I know…….easier said than done.
There is much to do before leaving on a long trip. Packing , getting clothes cleaned and ironed ( for those of you who still iron, bless you!). Cancelling the mail, paper, organizing the grass cut, paying bills, cleaning the house, watering the plants, finding someone to sit the house and pets, finding a ride to the airport, getting the luggage out of storage, banking and currency exchange, new or renewing passports, batteries for the camera and so on. Buying presents and other items we need for the trip. Finishing work assignments. Ok, I need to end writing about this list, I am getting tired thinking about all this!!!
Or we are so excited or worried we might over sleep we don’t even sleep the night before. Then, there are the early or long plane rides with multiple transfers. Sometimes we forget the priority taking care of ourselves. So the first tip is to get adequate and extra sleep and rest before your flight and take extra good care of yourself - in the days before your trip.
Tip #2: Pair down your to-do list to true essentials and not-over pressuring or over burdening yourselves. Be organized. Avoid superhero syndrome. You are more important than your to-do list.
Sometimes your to-do list may be much paired down, to not necessary or urgent and over pressuring ourselves.
Many of us attempt to do a year’s work of to-do list before leaving on our voyage. Things we have procrastinated about for a year, we decide to tackle a couple of nights before the trip or better yet.. bring along on the trip. I may have even been guilty of this! You are not a superhero!. Start your preparation for the trip early so you are not stressed the day before. For example, get out the suitcase a couple of weeks before if you can and start collecting your travel items. Have suitcases and items that keep you organized. If you are a business traveler you may want to keep some of these items unpacked between trips so you don’t have to repack.
Create a to-do list. Omit any unnecessary items on the to-do list, and then prioritize the list. If you are a frequent traveler, you may want to make a travel database on a spreadsheet so you don’t have to recreate the wheel each time. With a computerized list of what you need to do you will have it for the next trip too! Back up your laptop your hone and devices a few days before you go so you will feel relaxed since it is not left till 3.00am the night before.
Tip 3: Eat healthy and stay hydrated.
Eat healthy and stay hydrated before, after and during the trip.
Many airlines do not have meals or snacks on short trips; you may want to bring healthy food along in the plane and empty water bottles you can fill once you pass the x-ray check points. Or budget extra time to look for healthy food and in the airport. Or just buy it on the plane. Many people purposely don’t drink so they can avoid going to the bathroom, but dehydration is unbeneficial for your health and can predispose to blood clots and other medical conditions. Do not be shy about asking the flight attendant for extra beverages during the service or after. The plane is pressurized to about 8,000 feet so this is a very dry environment like going to the mountains, which requires extra fluid intake. The signs of dehydration may include thirsty, dry and loose skin, dizziness, foggy thinking, dark or small urination( there are many more signs) and is easy to prevent. If you are prone to dehydration, you may also want to carry on electrolytes packets as well. Consider limiting alcohol as well.
On a special diet? Most people do not realize but especially on overseas trips most airlines have multiple choices of food for various diets or religions, so have a look at your airline’s website. If you have a specific food issue like gluten-free, weight maintenance or diabetes plan, consider strongly carrying on your food if you can especially for the plane ride. Pack any special food or products, juices or milk that you may need for the kids and elderly. You might want to check your country’s regulations, (TSA in the United States) for what special liquids and foods you “are allowed” to carry on.
Tip 4: Continue your wellness and spiritual connection routine before and after the trip
Many of you have a routine that keeps you centered and connected. Some of you pray, or meditate, belly breathing, do yoga, chant, do tai chi or light candles, or say blessings. Others may like to exercise, spend time in nature, read poetry or read or listen to inspirational talks and/or holy words. You know what keep you centered and grounded. Even if you are busy before or during your trip, find the time even if it’s 5 minutes to keep centered. An airport has its own frenetic energies and stresses. So you want to arrive in your best condition; it is not the place to become spacey or ungrounded. Consider bringing some mini “tools” for your practice; a pillow, spiritual book, prayer shawl, beads, scripture, even a yoga mat, DVD/ipod player etc.
Tip 5: Carry on your medicines and devices and a copy of prescriptions
Keep your prescription and over the counter medicines, or natural products, homeopathics, medical devices, allergy medicines or epinephrine, first aid kit in your carry-one with you at all times.
And also, strongly consider bringing a list of your medicines and even prescriptions, and glass prescriptions, in case you lose soemthing, need a refill or face questions from customs. If you are going to a remote location, and if you have vision issues consider carrying a second pair of glasses or contacts. You may want to wear a medic alert bracelet especially if you have a defibrillator or pacemaker, or special conditions or use blood thinners. As soon as you know you are travelling, consider making an appointment with your doctor a or at the travel clinic, (more on this next blog). Let your doctor know what you need, and leave time to receive it before your trip.
Tip 6: Order oxygen for the plane in advance
If you use oxygen regularly, you likely will need to arrange it to have it on the plane.
Your doctor and airline can help arrange it so talk to your lung doctor or heart as soon as you know you will travel. If you have a heart or lung issue, anemia( low red cells) or an neurological issue, etc, and just about get away with no oxygen regularly, the plane is pressurized to about 8,000 feet, you may need it on the plane so speak to your doctors early so they can order and coordinate with the airline. Many times it come be done fairly quickly. You can also request transport or a wheelchair to the gate so if you need it, don’t be shy!
Please stay tuned for next part of article in this healthy travel series where we will continue this discussion and be sure to listen to Dr. Andrea Joy Cohen on Sunday November 11 and 18th at 12PM where she discusses this topic in detail at blogtalkradio.com/andreajoycohen.
This article is written and copyrighted by Andrea Joy Cohen @2012. If you would like to use it for a guest blog, or on your website, please drop me a line and discuss, and the article must be published in its entirety with the credit line.
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