Ever gone back to your hotel and can't remember your room number? Had a near miss in a rental car? Or completely blanked in that big presentation? Productivity and mental capacity are important to your clients. But even more essential is taking care of your wellbeing when travelling.
Back in 2003, 25 business travellers participated in a study to determine what caused them to tire out, and how that fatigue affected performance. In addition to wearing a device that monitored their movements – participants logged their daily activities and sleep quality, and tested their reaction times.
Sponsored by Hilton Hotels, the study was conducted by Alertness Solutions, a Californian consulting firm that advised corporations on sleep issues. The object for the hotel chain was to develop new services to offer sluggish business travellers.
The 2003 study (and research since) showed the most detrimental travel in terms of physical and mental performance, is travelling across at least two time zones for a trip that lasts between two and four days. Enough to disrupt your body clock, but not enough time to adjust before running to catch your flight home again. Then there’s the hotel breakfast buffet and room service – making it hard to eat healthy. Not to mention the disruption to your exercise routine. All part of a typical business trip.
When you’re properly rested, nourished and energised, you can tackle your work with creativity and productivity, wherever you are in the world. This article will talk you through some common (and less well known) tips to stay on top of your game when traveling for business.
Keep calm, carry on
If you want to avoid losing half an hour at the baggage claim, or dealing with the stress (and inconvenience) of a lost suitcase, keep it simple, pack light, and stick to carry-on only.
Whether it’s keeping your bags minimal and lightweight, your clothes, your meals, or your sleep and skincare routine, make sure you have all the basics you need in order to feel comfortable during your trip. At Hyoumankind, we’re never without our trusty Go Pillows to add comfort to any plane seat or catch a few Zs on a layover.
No one wants to land at their destination with jet lag and a hangover. Saying no to alcohol and yes to water and herbal tea is key. The Aerospace Medical Association recommends drinking a glass of water for every hour on the plane. We wouldn’t be without our refillable water bottles, and as soon as we’re past security, they can be filled at a water fountain. The flight crew are usually happy to top you up too.
Caffeinate with care
If you can, skip the caffeine in flight too, as it can be a diuretic and dehydrating. If you have a meeting shortly after landing, try having a cup of coffee two hours beforehand, to help prevent drowsiness and keep you sharp.
Sitting in the same position affects your breathing, circulation, joints and muscles. Remember to stretch occasionally throughout your flight, and you’ll arrive at your important business meeting feeling loose and limber.
Get in the zone
This little known tip is key to getting ahead of jet lag. As soon as possible, (even before your flight) adapt your eating patterns to your new time zone. This will cue your body when it’s time to be awake, or when to sleep. Exercising in the early morning or early afternoon can nudge your circadian rhythm so you feel awake earlier, while exercising in the evening has the opposite effect.
No matter what the local time is, you might be tempted to sleep as soon as you land. To help your body adjust to the new time zone faster, try to head to bed at a ‘normal’ local bedtime. It may help to have a familiar pillow. Invented by a frequent flyer, the Go Pillow’s light weight and compact size make it ideal for taking your comfort zone with you. Adding a touch of luxury like a pure silk pillowcase can also help you to acclimatise to new surroundings.
Stick to routine
It’s a good idea to weave in your daily self-care routines on your business trip. Whether that’s meditating, a morning run, practicing yoga, or chamomile tea to wind down, these routines will help you stay grounded, and nurture your wellbeing when you need it most.