The trip you’ve been waiting and planning for is finally here! But so are the stressors that come with navigating a new place. It’s natural to worry while traveling, but if you want to enjoy yourself to the fullest, it’s best to consider planning so that your overall health does not go out of whack whilst away.
‘One of the most common misconceptions, says Dr. Yami, is that we need to boost our immune system, but your immune system is working for you you want to support it’- Dr. Yami, board-certified pediatrician, lifestyle medicine physician, certified health and wellness coach, author, and speaker follows with her top tips for staying healthy while traveling. So, while packing your bag for your next trip, pack these tips along with you!
Try to keep your eating as health-promoting as possible
Of course, you want to feast on that savory pizza in Naples or the street food in Thailand! And you still can, – in moderation! Not only because it’s better for your health, but for your wallet as well! Dr. Yami suggests getting accommodation where you can prepare your food. In her family, she makes breakfast and lunch. Anything from oatmeal, nut butter, whole wheat toast, or hummus are great options to prepare or have on hand. Her top tip is to have something ( for the two meals you choose to prepare yourself) that is going to sustain you. Then when the time comes for that meal, treat yourself to something you’ve been excited to try on the trip, whether is it vegan fondue or that huge scoop of gelato after dinner! Probably even something well before your trip began!
Sleep matters! Even if you have jetlag or a busy travel schedule
When we decide to stay out later, or not regulate our sleep schedule, being sleep-deprived is going to affect our immune system. Sleep is very VERY important for keeping and supporting a healthy immune system. When you do travel somewhere in a much different time zone and it’s a long time, try to get back into that time zone as soon as you can. Dr. Yami, reminds us that we should be gentle with ourselves, and give yourselves time to nap when adjusting to this new time zone. Not only does sleep deprivation affect your immune system but it can also start to impact your other behaviors such as eating. “When we’re sleep deprived it changes our hormones, where we are craving foods that are higher in fats and sugar, so we have less ability to make good choices for eating,” says Dr. Yami.
Sometimes this already happens naturally when traveling because you’re already walking around, taking in the new sights. It doesn’t have to be at a gym or a designated workout class. Dr. Yami likes to call this joyful movement- by doing something that keeps your body moving.‘As long as you get the blood flowing, and the muscles pumping, this decreases your risk of deep vein thrombosis, which happens when you are sedentary for a long time.
Manage your stress reduction
For some people, instantly walking into an airport can raise their anxiety, with the possible concerns that may lie ahead. Not having usual food options, flight anxiety, or expenses are among stressors. High amounts of anxiety can not only affect your mood but your ( as we keep mentioning!) immune system as well. Dr. Yamis suggests having beneficial tools such as deep breathing exercises, yoga, prayer, and journaling to help minimize your stress intake. Doing these activities helps keep your mood stable.
Reduce your substance intake
You want to stay mindful of your habits if you are consuming a lot of substances such as alcohol. If you are overindulging-, it’s affecting your digestion, your gut microbiome, (once again!) your immune system, and overall how you feel. You should keep to the same habits as at home, taste, and experience new things, but don’t overdo it just for the sake of being somewhere new.
Your immune system can take a huge hit while traveling. Remember, your immune system is something you should be supporting, not boosting, YES even when traveling. Who wants to travel or return from a trip feeling drained or unnourished? Book the Airbnb with the kitchen! Force yourself to take cat naps when needed throughout the day! Go on the hike to experience mind-blowing mountain views! Get an app (like Headspace) for daily meditations! Don’t go for the fourth glass of wine! Look out for yourself to ultimately have the best, and healthiest trip possible! Wishing you safe, happy, and healthy travels ahead!