We all deal with those travel-induced ailments: We're bloated, tired, and just generally feel icky. I travel regularly for work, so when the holiday season rolls around and I'm taking three kids along with me, it takes a lot of effort to keep myself healthy enough to actually enjoy time spent with friends and family. That's where my training in herbalism and nutrition have really saved me, time and time again. So, here are my tried-and-true all-natural secrets to feeling my best no matter how many hours I spend in transit or how many diapers I change along the way:
1. Carry anti-inflammatory tea.
Unless you travel more than most pilots are allowed to, the small amount of radiation that you're exposed to every time you fly on a plane may not affect you. But if you're predisposed to cancer or sensitive to radiation, it's something to consider. I drink anti-inflammatory tea both during plane rides and right after to help my body recover.
My own recipe:
- Steep in hot water equal parts dulse, yellow dock, milk thistle and ashwaganda.
- Make a tea from the mixture by steeping 1 tablespoon per cup of hot water. Drink as much as you can.
This tea will help you feel energized and combat the ravages of travel on your body.
2. Hydrate right.
We all know that flying dehydrates us—our skin is dry, we're constipated or have intestinal discomfort, etc. The answer is to properly rehydrate. When we don't, we feel exhausted. Focus on drinking high-quality water. (Yes, there is such a thing.) Most airports offer Smartwater or Fuji water, and those are some of my favorites. Do your own research sure to investigate water brands—some of them have added chemicals. When you drink high-quality water, you rehydrate, get your bowels moving, and help your skin glow!
3. Keep your lymphatic system moving.
The lymphatic system helps move toxins through the body. Hydration is important for healthy lymphatic drainage, but so is movement. To get your lymphatic system flowing, you need to move, breathe, and stretch. So no matter where you are—at the airport or your hotel—put your sneakers on and get walking, or pull out your yoga mat and get your stretch on. Hit the sauna, the bathtub, or the pool, and get some sun. These are all great ways to jump-start your lymphatic flow. For more tips on getting your lymph up to speed, see this article.
4. Plan ahead to get your nutrients.
It's easy to get caught without snacks when you're traveling and stressed, and that's when the lure of Cinnabon becomes hard to resist. Nothing wrong with that, if you're feeling like an indulgence is merited, but if you're eating crap because you're too tired or stressed to do something else, you'll probably end up more tired and stressed than you were to begin with. You can avoid putting yourself in this position by making your own trail mix to take with you when you travel. Throw in these high-nutrient superfoods to make sure you're getting all your essential minerals (think immune-boosting zinc, for example) and vitamins: organic raw pumpkin seeds, organic raw sunflower seeds, organic goji berries, organic wild blueberries, organic raw almonds.
5. Get outside.
When we travel, we can be stuck in airports all day long, deprived of daylight and breathing recycled air. Wherever you are—city or country—just get outside, smile at the sun, and breathe some fresh air. Research shows that just taking a walk in nature or a park can boost our mood and calm us down. Do some breathing exercises and get back in touch with your body. Flying can make us feel really spacey and unsettled—getting outside and walking can be deeply grounding. Sunshine has been shown to do wonders for our mental health.
Travel can be quite overwhelming: packing, security checks, delayed planes, irritated passengers, crowded airplanes. Is it any wonder we feel out of sorts when we arrive? My secret is just to do as much meditation and relaxation during and after as possible. Switch on a meditation app while you're waiting for the plane, during the ride, and when you get to your destination. When your mind is at peace, your health starts to radiate naturally.
7. Eat more fruit.
Fruit gets a bad rap for being so sweet. But fruit packs more vitamins and minerals than almost any other food. Pack fresh fruit for the plane, and go fruit shopping as soon as you arrive. It's the best way to boost your immune system and keep yourself feeling energized, healthy, and hydrated. Go organic whenever you can.
With these seven tips, you'll be equipped to get through the holiday season happy, healthy, and vibrant. (And you'll actually have the energy to enjoy yourself.)