5 Ways to Reduce Travel Stress [LIST]
If you’re looking for ways to remain relaxed and feel your best while traveling, you’re in the right place. Have you ever gotten home from a trip and felt like you needed a vacation? A lot of people feel that way. Travel can be stressful for both the body and the mind.
Think about it: in order to prepare for a trip, you have to do laundry, pack, make arrangements to get to your destination and then back home again and you’ll often have activities once you do arrive at your location. Flights often leave early in the morning or arrive late and of course there’s jet lag, all of which can interfere with your sleep schedule, making stress harder to deal with. And none of that takes into account complications due to weather, airline issues, baggage claim or fears related to flying.
Being able to relax is really important, no matter what your reason for going out of town. Here are five natural ways to help you create calm when you’re not at home.
Ease Travel Stress With a Cup of Tea
The first thing that you can do to relax while traveling is to have a nice cup of tea.
Black tea contains a chemical called L-theanine. L-theanine has been proven in studies to help the brain relax without making you feel sleepy. If orange pekoe isn’t your…ahem, cup of tea, there are herbal varieties that are helpful for relaxation too. Chamomile is a popular herbal tea that has a soothing, mildly sedative effect and is even safe for children. Lemon balm is another good choice as it soothes the nervous system, helps with sleep and can even help to eliminate headaches.
No matter which tea you select, the act of sitting and calmly sipping a hot beverage can, in and of itself, be relaxing. Once you reach your destination, find a way to grab a cup of tea and sip it quietly to calm your mind.
Take A Walk
Another all-natural thing that you can do when you are traveling is walk. Walking is a tried, tested and true whole-body relaxer. The more steps you take during the day, the better your mood will be, because walking releases both mood-enhancing and pain-relieving endorphins.
You can walk during layovers at the airport if you have them and you can also go for a walk once you reach your hotel or before settling in for the night. If your location is a safe one, take your walks outside to get to know the area, and if not, use the treadmill in your hotel’s exercise facility for as long as you are there.
Arthritis.org outlines some of the many health benefits of walking, here. If you suffer from arthritis, physical activity is even more important. Check out these great reasons to keep moving from the Rheumatoid Arthritis Support Network (RASN).
Eat Complex Carbs
These days, many people are limiting carbs in order to lose weight and while this may be wise for some, there is a good reason why complex carbohydrates are considered comfort foods and they do have benefits for the body.
Complex carbs cause a serotonin release in the brain that is gradual and long-lasting. Simple carbs cause inflammation, high blood sugar levels and a serotonin spike that is short-lived. The sustained serotonin levels you get from complex carbs are much more useful for combating stress.
Serotonin is one of the so-called “happy hormones”, helping to enhance mood and assisting with sleep. Be sure to include brown rice, quinoa, or other sources of complex carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes and lentils in your meals when you’re away from home to keep your serotonin levels up and stress levels down.
Use Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender is widely known to help with relaxation, so why not take some of this floral-scented essential oil with you the next time you travel? Studies have revealed a wide range of benefits, from alleviating pain to decreasing anxiety.
Add a few drops of lavender oil to your lotion before going to sleep at night. If you don’t want to put it directly onto your skin, you can pour a few drops into a warm bath and soak in it before bedtime. Also, some people like to sleep with the scent of lavender, so they will put the oil onto their pillow at night. If you find flying stressful, you can put a couple of drops of lavender oil on a handkerchief and inhale the scent periodically while you are in the air.
Whichever option you choose, lavender is a great essential oil that can help you drift off to sleep peacefully each night of your trip. If you don’t like lavender, there are other essential oils that can help with relaxation. Try ylang ylang, chamomile or clary sage.
Magnesium: A Powerful, Natural Relaxant
I’ve saved the best for last! The single, most powerful relaxation mineral on earth is magnesium.
It relaxes your muscles, it can help to lessen or even eliminate insomnia and it can even reduce anxiety. Plus, increasing your magnesium intake can improve circulation, which is a benefit if you are going to be spending any time on an airplane.
Studies have found that using a high-quality, transdermal magnesium supplement is more effective than taking a pill or drinking a liquid since putting it onto your skin allows it to be absorbed into your bloodstream more efficiently. Plus, it doesn’t have the side effects that many oral mag supplements do.
The vast majority of people are deficient in magnesium, so if you’re going to take one thing with you when you travel, you’d do well to make it magnesium.
It doesn’t matter if you’re traveling for work or for pleasure. The end result can often be the same — added stress. Knowing how to relax is an important skill that everyone should have, no matter where you live in the world or how often you travel. Even if you have a routine for de-stressing when you’re at home though, it may be hard to adapt it for travel.
If you are a traveler, you may experience greater stress simply because you’re not in familiar surroundings where things are more predictable and where you have coping tools close at hand. Hopefully these tips will help you to come up with a strategy for taking better care of yourself when you’re out of town.
Nobre AC, Rao A, Owen GN. “L-theanine, A Natural Constituent in Tea, and its Effect on Mental State.” 2008. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18296328.
“12 Benefits of Walking.” The Arthritis Foundation. http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/exercise/workouts/walking/wow-of-walking.php Dec. 15, 2011.
McLaughlin, August. “Foods That Increase Serotonin and Induce Sleep” http://www.livestrong.com/article/294169-foods-that-increase-serotonin-and-induce-sleep May 21, 2015
Steven D. Ehrlich, NMD. “Lavender.” University of Maryland Medical Center. https://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/lavender. Jan. 2, 2015.