Elizabeth Cronise McLaughlin
CEO/Lead Executive Coach, Gaia Project Consulting
Most recently in: Dallas, Seattle, and Los Angeles within the last four weeks. I'm in LA about once a month now and I love it there.
The one snack you can always find in my carry on is: It's not exactly a snack, but I generally never get on a plane without at least 2 liters of water.
Tell us your in-flight ritual: I'm fortunate in that most of the time when I travel these days, it's on behalf of major corporate clients for whom we conduct leadership training programs, and therefore always in first class. When I get on the flight, I usually settle in under a blanket, order a non-alcoholic cocktail (JetBlue Mint has this divine fizzy mint lemonade that you can order without vodka), pull out the latest issue of Porter (my consistent travel pleasure and a wonderful magazine for both fashion and women's empowerment-- I love their editorial vibe), and pick out some music to listen to for the flight. If I'm on a weird schedule, I'll also try to sleep for a few hours before landing.
How do you conquer jet lag once you've arrived? Now that I am 45, I've quickly realized that if I drink any alcohol on the plane, my jet lag is far worse. So, honestly, combatting jet lag starts before I get on the plane with those two liters of water. Once on the ground, and particularly if I'm coming in at night as I often do when I travel to the West Coast, I try to get to bed as soon as I hit my hotel. I also try to get up at a normal time the following morning local time, so that I'm on schedule right away. If I follow this protocol, I honestly don't get jet lag very much at all.
Describe your workout on the road style: I've recently started using Kayla Itsines' app, Sweat with Kayla, which is awesome for circuit training that relies only on your own body weight and can be done literally anywhere. Each workout lasts just 28 minutes, which basically eliminates any excuses for working out no matter where you are-- and trust me, they are NOT easy. I used to do a longer form yoga practice on the road, but these days I try to travel as lightly as possible, and my yoga mat has been jettisoned from my single carry-on save when I'm traveling for a women's mastermind retreat.
How do you keep sickness at bay? I take a rigorous protocol of supplements thanks to my naturopath, Dr. Samantha Brody, who works virtually with women on nutrition and stress management. At bare minimum, I take 5000 mg of Vitamin D a day, Sun Theanine, and GABA to combat stress and process cortisol, and melatonin if I'm having trouble sleeping. If I feel like I'm coming down with something, I'll also take some elderberry syrup. I do find, though, that disciplining myself to sleep 8 hours a night and staying hydrated no matter what really helps.
What's your 'go-to' restaurant item when traveling? Some form of greens-- salad, sautéed kale, collard greens. I'm a fool for that kind of stuff, and I also tend to be at least a little lighter in terms of what I eat on the road to combat jet lag.
What do you do to stay grounded? I meditate for a minimum of ten minutes every morning, and usually longer when I'm on the road. It's a good chance when I'm away from my kids to up my mindfulness practice. I also have a number of significant spiritual goodies that I take with me wherever I go-- Spirit Mist (a smokeless smudge) to use in hotel rooms, my pocket altar (Chakredy pendulum, a few pieces of rose quartz, and a few totems), and sage and sandalwood essential oils. Visualization-- particularly the use of grounding cords-- also helps a lot.
What is your preferred method of staying connected with loved ones? I honestly have no idea how traveling mothers functioned before FaceTime. I talk to my kids at least once a day this way-- usually right before their bedtime, no matter what time zone I'm in. I also have an agreement with my dad that I text him every time I board a plane and every time I land, no matter what time it is, and he does the same for me. It's a really nice ritual, because inevitably he congratulates me on the latest success or wishes me good luck or offers words of support. On my last flight home from LA, when I'd had a bit of a rough couple of days, he texted a photo of me in his arms at about 3 years old, and said to me "you are loved." I burst into tears in first class. I'm lucky beyond words to have him as my dad.
When not traveling for work, Elizabeth is based in NYC, which will host her latest empowering event: Gaia Women Lead May 17 - 19. Take advantage of her pearls of wisdom on The Women's Leadership Podcast and follow her travels on Instagram.