The holidays are here and that means cold and flu season is here as well. Many of us will have at least one flight or long road trip over the next month or so. Travel combined with high stress, skipping workouts, and being out of a healthy eating routine means you are all the more likely to catch something and end up feeling under the weather. But who has time for a cold this time of year?
Here are a few tips that I use to stay well when I’m traveling:
Alllll the probiotics! I don’t mean just popping a pill either. Try to get those healthy, immune-boosting bugs from real foods. Fermented veggies, sauerkraut (not cooked), anything by Farmhouse Culture, Wildbrine probiotic shots, yogurt, kefir, kombucha, Kashaya coconut yogurt, and Kite Hill almond milk yogurt are great options. I’ll eat a couple forkfuls of sauerkraut every day when I get home from work and have yogurt or kefir in the mornings for about a week leading up to a trip out of town. If I’m starting to feel at all sick, bring on the Wildbrine shots!
2. Dr. Schnuffie’s Cold & Flu. I’m not one for taking a bunch of vitamins, but I make sure to take one of these for every day that I’m on the road. They haven’t let me down yet! It’s a powerful combo of vitamins + herbs developed by a physician to help boost the immune system.
3. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! The low humidity environment on a plane can really dry you out and increase your risk of catching a respiratory infection. If you already carry a water bottle with you wherever you go, don’t leave it at home while you’re traveling. Fill up right before your flight– that little 6 ounce cup of water the airline gives you isn’t nearly enough. Too much alcohol can also dehydrate you. If you need a little extra motivation, try downloading the Plant Nanny app. It gives you a goal of how many ounces a day you need then it’s up to you to drink what you need or watch your cute little animated plant wither and die.
4. Don’t sacrifice sleep! This is probably the most important, yet most overlooked aspect of staying healthy. Forgoing sleep suppresses your immune system and lessens your bodies ability to fight off infection. Lack of sleep also increases the hormones leptin and ghrelin, which regulate fullness and satiety. When you get less sleep, your body pushes you to eat more high calorie foods in order to get more energy.
5. Practice self-care to decrease stress. Make sure you are taking care of yourself over the next few months and take a minute to think about what your best stress relieving techniques are. Can’t think of any? That’s your first clue that there is a problem. If your usual stress relief is hitting the gym or a yoga class and you’ve fallen behind on time, try a simple 10 minute meditation (I use the Headspace app), a 5-minute stretch, or 10 deep breaths. It sounds almost trivial, like what can 5-10 minutes a day do? A lot, actually! Don’t knock it until you’ve actually given it a shot. If you think you don’t have time for 5-10 minutes to focus on stress relief, then you probably need 20!