My career as a Performance Enhancement Coach and Speaker requires traveling on a weekly basis. For those of you who travel, it can take a toll on our physical, mental and emotional well-being at times. I need to be on my game when I arrive to meet my clients, so taking care of myself is an important part of my self-care. Not only it is physical as I’m frequently changing time zones, but it’s mental. And, my mental state plays a large role in my body’s ability to be resilient.
Throughout my years of traveling, I’ve seen it all . . . delays and cancellations, the long security lines, the crying baby, sprinting to make your connection and my all-time favorite: being told by the security checkpoint that I had to go back and get a printed boarding pass because the App for that airline wasn’t accepted in that airport.
Here are some tips that keep will keep you mindful amidst the chaos:
- 4-Part Breathing When I can feel my mind and body becoming tense, I use this breathing technique, which is a rhythmic counting through each part of the breath; inhaling for 5 counts, holding the breath in for 5 counts, exhaling for 5 counts and hold the breath out for 5 counts. Go through several rounds until you feel grounded and rooted. This exercise gives your mind something to focus on and the body reaps the benefits.
- Alternate Nostril Breathing For those days when you have to sprint to the gate, incorporate Alternate Nostril Breathing, which changes the pattern of how the breathe enters the brain. Once seated raise your left hand and use your thumb to close off the nostril breathing into the right nostril, then use your left middle finger to close off the right nostril and exhale out the left nostril. Repeat on the left side, alternately breathing. This brings the heart rate down quickly and encourages a serotonin release putting you back at ease.
- Self-talk Survey Travel often throws up roadblocks both literal and figurative. The airlines, staff, and others traveling aren't necessarily there to purposefully challenge you as we are all in the same boat and doing the best we can under the circumstances. Yet, when challenging situations arise, pay attention to your self-talk. See how you can use the opportunity to see where I’m judging and labeling others.
- Take A Brain Break Yes, I’m that guy stretching and making noises at the airport gate. Take a few minutes to breathe and move your body in ways that support optimal brain function. This will help to alleviate musculoskeletal issues that arise from all the sitting and standing during your day of travel.
Taking good care of yourself is an essential part of any travel routine. It is up to you to maximize your time and use it wisely. When I hit the road, I can either get caught up in the fray and participate in the chaos OR I can focus on me. I choose ME. GO BE GREAT! – Ed Harrold