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I’ve travelled quite a bit already this year and think I’ve finally found little things that work to keep me healthy during all the travel. Having an autoimmune disease means having to REALLY take care of my self while traveling (even if it’s for fun). I thought I’d share some tips I’ve picked up along the way.
The problem with travel is that no matter how much fun it is or how on time you are, it’s a stress on your body. Your body doesn’t know the difference between “Yay we’re going to Walt Disney World!” and “Oh no if this traffic doesn’t pick up we’re going to miss our flight!” So the more steps you can take to eliminate stress, the better it is on your digestive system, immune system and all the other fun things involved with keeping your body running (like hormones).
- Food – the toughest part is keeping on your regular diet (and I don’t mean that thing you go on when you’re trying to lose weight). For me, gluten really sets off a flare so it’s even more important for me to know where/what I’m eating. I ALWAYS pack food – bars, nuts, jerkey, Gopicnic boxes, small packs of peanut or almond butter to add to fruit… This way I know I’ll always have some protein and fiber on hand to keep me full if I’m unsure of what to eat. I also always plan ahead and check out restaurants in the area (and at the airport) that would be safe to eat at. Even if I’m traveling to a conference where I was able to note food allergies I STILL take precautions and always have food with me.
- Time – another tough thing about travel is we’re often on a schedule right? Traveling for a conference you usually have a specific schedule (that often starts early). While sleep is SUPER important, I’ve found that giving myself extra time in the morning allows me to wake up slowly and start my morning off right. I usually allow myself 2 hours (2.5 is ideal) to wake up, take my vitamins, eat a snack (or breakfast if that’s not part of the day’s plan), do a quick workout or stretch, take a shower and get ready without the stress of being late. This allows my body to wake up and get working instead of jumping out of bed and spiking that adrenaline right off the bat because I have to rush to be ready on time. My hormones/adrenals aren’t fans of this and my digestive system isn’t either.
- Workout – Working out has been the hardest thing for me to figure out with my autoimmune disease. My body works best on good 1 hour workouts with weights and circuits. This is fine when I’m healthy, but working out hard always helps contributes to a crash so I’ve been on a long time search for the type of workouts that are just enough to help but not hard enough on my system to cause it to work over time. This will probably be something different for everyone, but even a walk in the morning, some yoga or stretching or my recent favorite a 7 minute workout will help a lot! You could even adopt this to be your “go to” travel workout.
- Water – I try to bring a bottle with me to remember to drink water. Staying hydrated will help your body stay healthy and not have to work as hard to keep you there.
- The obvious washing hands, especially before eating somewhere like an airplane or after being on public transit.
- Vitamins – if you take supplements every day, take them with you. Keeping your body on it’s normal schedule will only help! I like to up my Vitamin C a bit, but whatever works for you! A lot of people like EmergenC or other similar products. If you think about it you could take some extra immune boosting supplements before you leave if they’ve worked for you in the past. Just be careful taking things you haven’t before, things like Vitamin C or magnesium can cause your digestive system to speed up which isn’t the most fun on vacation.
- Plan ahead – whether it’s preparing work for when you get back, cleaning the house, making sure the dog sitter has ALL the info she needs, planning ahead will save you time and stress while traveling. If you didn’t get all your work done or have to work on something when you’re away, make a schedule of little things you can do each day to get caught up instead of coming home to a pile of stress.
Bonus tip: If you wear contacts and are going on a long flight, consider wearing your glasses instead. Your eyes get very dry on a plane and then you want to touch and scratch them, which in turn introduces more nasty plane bacteria.
I’m sure you’ve noticed that a general theme here is stress. Stress comes in so many forms and is going to happen, these tips will help lessen the stress on your body and immune system. Do you have any go to healthy travel tricks?
These are great tips! I admit that when I travel I don’t eat the best, nor get enough water, so those are things I’m working on! Bonus points on bringing your own food to save money, especially at the airport!