Face it. Sometimes traveling for business takes a lot out of you. The mind and body can go through many changes on the road. The different time zones, shifts in air quality, climate, temperature and limited amounts of personal space can all stress your system. Most business travelers aren’t even aware of their increased stress levels until their body clues them in with a headache, stiff neck or restlessness.
Take Rosa Barksdale, CEO of Barksdale Home Care Services in Pelham, New York, for example. "I used to hate to travel for business because it seemed every time I reached my destination, I was fatigued," she says. "This really dampened my ability to get the most out of those short trips."
It wasn’t until she started to apply self-care techniques that she began to feel better. Such techniques, including deep breathing and stretching, can be done easily in the airport waiting lounge, your hotel room-even your plane seat.
The next time you’re on a business trip and need to bring yourself back to your normal, balanced self, try the following exercises:
- Deep breathing. Of course, we breathe all the time. But the key word here is conscious. Sit upright, and bring awareness to your breath by following it as it goes in and comes out of your body. Close your eyes and imagine you’re breathing so deeply that the air is coming in through your feet and out through the top of your head. After about four times, you’ll begin to feel calmer.
- Meditation. Traveling can make you fussy. All you need is five minutes to clear your mind and refocus. Sit cross-legged on the floor, with pillows to support you if necessary. Take three deep breaths and relax. Think of a word that eases your mind (i.e., peace, love). Focus on your chosen word and remain aware of your breathing.
- Body stretching. Stress builds up in the neck, shoulders and back, especially from carrying heavy luggage. Sit comfortably in a chair. Interlace your fingers and place hands behind your head (not neck). Inhale and sit up tall with your shoulders relaxed. As you exhale, allow your head and arms to relax forward. After five deep breaths, release hands and slowly roll your head up to the starting position.
–Kellye Davis is a health and wellness journalist and a certified yoga instructor.