'Twas the flight before Christmas and from early check-in to final approach, you feel your inner Scrooge stirring, in need of a happy holiday coach. But before you shout at small children or strangle your mate, here is a checklist to get your wig on straight!
Consider these nine tips your blissful boarding pass, as you transcend times zones, survive your stopovers and breathe through delays. Calming your internal turbulence can make for a more tranquil takeoff and lighter landing. And infusing your travel plans with mindful-movement, good sense and good scents, just might add a bit of ho-ho-ho to your go-go-go this travel season.
1. Eat light
Skip the heavy and hard-to-digest food for 24 hours prior to your flight. Even some healthy foods can make you gaseous like broccoli and cauliflower, so consume with care. Caffeine, carbonated drinks and alcohol will dehydrate you and magnify the unfortunate effects of the pressurized cabin.
2. Inhale and exhale
Take the stairs instead of the escalator — a ten-minute walk around the airport will enhance your in-flight circulation. Getting your heart beating faster will transport oxygen-rich blood to your muscles and improve cellular respiration, even while you've got your seatbelt securely fastened.
3. Cruising altitude yoga
In your seat, interlace your hands under your right thigh and ease your knee and forehead toward each other (but not during beverage and meal service.) As your back rounds, feel the space created between those poor vertebrae that are compressed from sitting in one position for too long. Hold for a few breaths and then do the left side.
4. Don't skip the hips
Cross your right ankle on top of your left ankle and let your right knee fall to the side a bit for a hip stretch and opener. More flexible people can place their right ankle on top of their left knee. Hold each side for about 30 seconds.
5. Wander the cabin
When the captain has turned off the fasten seatbelt sign, make your way to the galley. Using one hand against the wall for balance, rise up onto your toes, then lower your heels back down to the ground 10 times, to get the circulation back into your calf muscles. If you're able to find enough stability, stand on one leg, bend the opposite knee, heel towards your butt and clasp your foot for a stretch on the front of your thigh (think runner's stretch). Hold each side for approximately 30 seconds.
6. With a twist
Sit tall, hold the armrests, and twist from your navel to one side for five breaths, and then to the other. Enjoy the release in your spine and the fact that you might even be wringing out a bah humbug or two.
7. Mindful movement
Once you've deplaned, even if you feel exhausted or jet lagged, try to take a 10-minute walk to get your metabolism and circulation going. For meals, opt for reindeer food like salads and green veggies, to help move toxins and fluids through you. Green tea is a natural diuretic and will help decrease water retention.
8. Turn it upside down
Once you've landed, find a quiet place to lie on your back and elevate your legs up a wall for ten minutes in Viparita Karani. Staying seated upright with your feet on the ground for so long, can create pressure in your leg veins and cause fluids to collects in the soft tissue. Coincidentally, the same way you're about to sit at the table for your holiday meal...
9. Soak in serenity
Draw a warm bath with Epsom salts, sprinkle some lavender or sandalwood oil in the water to wash away the soreness and airplane fumes.
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