Over the past 11 years, I’ve had the opportunity to travel to numerous cities across Canada for business meeting. When I first started traveling for work, it felt glamorous! Hotel rewards, restaurant meals, hotel gym and WestJet Gold Status had it’s perks! After my backpacking adventure, I had always dreamed of having a career where I could also travel!
As the business trips became more frequent, I came to realize that I was feeling pretty scattered during my time away. As a home body, I found it challenging to be living out of a bag. Being away from home brought this sense of being uprooted from my regular routine. I'd be very anxious (before, during & after the trip) and not at all my regular grounded self.
I knew that I did not want to feel these pangs of anxiety/stress around my business trips and I definitely didn't want to be having those meltdowns when I got home from the airport! That being said, I also didn't know where to turn to or how I'd get through this....What I did know is that something needed to change...
I tapped into some tools and resources that I felt would help me during my travel weeks. A lot of these I already "knew" but I wasn't implementing them in my life when I was on the road because it felt too much like helter skelter. In my mind...I was too "busy" to be adding more stuff to my weeks. I was busy alright...! My mind was constantly thinking & I would worry about anything and everything (thinking the worse case scenario too frequently can be a slippery slope). It's funny how we often know what we could be doing to help ourselves out, but continue to stubbornly rely on our old routine and patterns...
"Hoping" that my anxiety would get better just wasn't going to work for me. I need to make some major changes.
I want to share with you some concepts that have really helped me get (& stay!) grounded during my time away from home.
Top 5 tips for (business) travel:
1. Establish a Morning Routine
As challenging as this may seem while on the road, I highly recommend establishing & maintaining a morning routine while travelling for work. If you have a morning "routine" at home, find a version of this "routine" that works for you on the road. It'll be so much easier for you to "keep it up" if you continue to implement the habits at home & when you are away!
It's very easy to tell yourself that you can't "get a workout in" or "do your meditation practice" this week because you're travelling. Make a commitment to yourself to stay on track with the habits that work for you at home and be creative in the process when you're at the hotel. It might "look" different than how it would be if you are home but something is better than nothing!
Maybe for you this means heading down to the hotel gym for a stretch/rehabilitation session, a 12-minute HIIT workout in the room, a morning meditation or reading a book with a nice little Americano in your room! Start the day off right with some time for yourself!
2. Pack those “GO-TO” snacks
Snacks have SAVED me in so many occasions when I’m on the road! When I am travelling for a few days at a time, I make a point of popping by a local grocery store on day 1 to grab a few snacks for the week.
Pre cut veggies
Depending on my schedule, I know that I may have little time in between meetings so having these quick “on-the-go” snacks are a must! I also stock up on bottled water…need to stay hydrated throughout the week, especially when flying!
I often pack a batch of my protein bars to have for breakfast while I'm on the road. That being said, the roasted red pepper sous-vide egg bites from Starbucks with a pack of guacamole are also a great breakfast option on the go!
3. Don't forget the EARBUDS!
People rushing to catch a flight, loud announcement over the intercom, travellers "stewing" about their delayed flights… Let’s face it … being in an airport can be… chaotic! But it doesn’t have to be!.....
A lot of this depends on your perspective going into the airport. Trust me---I’ve caught myself in the chaos of airports and would feel myself feeding off the energies around me waiting lounge.
For these reasons, I always travel with my earbuds and they are my go-to travel buddy!
Whether I listen to an audiobook, podcast or my new favourite album on repeat, I can be in my own little “world” and this has been a game changer for me! I now view my time at the gate as “me time” and find a quiet space in the airport (this is possible...!)
Here are a few of the podcasts I'm really into these days!
Live Awake - Sarah Blondin
RISE - Rachel Hollis
The Brendon Show - Brendon Burchard
School of Greatness - Lewis Howes
4. Make it special!
Allow yourself some pampering and self-care! Whether it’s a “Grande Flat White” from Starbucks (pump of caramel for J!) or a evening charcoal mask! Do something for yourself that will makes your experience feel special! For example, I recently purchased a travel size “Moroccan Oil” hair spray. I absolutely love that product and soooo look forward to being able to have it when I’m on the road!
I also recommend bringing a small item from home that makes your hotel room feel more like home. Here are some of the item's I bring when I am on the road:
A favourite healing crystal (amethyst are amazing for grounding you while travelling!)
An essential oil blend - Doterra's "Balance" or Young Living's "Joy" are two of my fav's!
Mala necklace - the sandalwood is so grounding!
A new book!
P.S. Nobody has every accused me of travelling...light! But I do what works for me and it is soooo worth it!
5. Create an Adventure!
When you’re travelling for “business”, not “pleasure” , it is very easy to get caught up in the hustle of emails, meetings, sleep (& repeat!). Our body's and mind need a break from work so why not be a tourist in the city you’re visiting? Sure... you’re here for "work" but create some adventure in your evenings!
When I’m away, I try to do at least one new thing while I am in a new city to keep things fresh and exciting!
· Try a new restaurant or coffee shop
· Visit an art gallery or local festival
· Find a new trail and go for a hike (don’t forget the bells & bear maze!)
· Attend a yoga/barre class at the neighborhood studio
· Grab your dinner “to-go” and eat in a local park
It has taken me some time to find what "works" best for me when travelling for business and I am still fine tweaking this practice as I go! But by keeping things fresh and trying different things that bring me joy throughout the week, I’ve noticed a a huge change in my overall experience!
From time to time, I have to remind myself:
"You made the commitment to be away for “x” number of days… make the best of it! Only you're in control of that!"
My perspective of my experience was controlling the outcome of my enjoyment. Only you are in control of your attitude and perspective of your current situation….so how are you going to chose to show up?
Whether you travel for business or not, I think it's a great exercise to check in with yourself at the end of your weekend (or beginning of your week) and ask yourself…
What would make this week awesome?....
What will bring me more joy? Let's add more of THAT!
What do I want this week to look like?
Find what works for you and sprinkle more of THAT goodness into your week!
Have an amazing long weekend!
J. Mona Marie