Holidays can be chaotic. Add travel, and you open the door to myriad stress-induced illnesses. When on the road or in the air this season, try these strategies to stay healthy in body, mind, and spirit.
Most travel involves long periods of inactivity. To keep blood flowing and muscles relaxed, chiropractors recommend Mirror Image Exercise. Anticipate what position your body will be in and stretch in the opposite direction before and after travel. If you'll be sitting, stretch your legs straight. Shoulders hunched at the wheel? Arch your back to counteract the strain.
Andrew Weil, MD, recommends Relaxing Breath as the most powerful relaxation method. Here's how:
- Exhale through your mouth completely.
- Breathe in quietly through your nose for four counts.
- Hold for seven counts.
- Exhale noisily (whoosh) through your mouth for eight counts.
- Repeat for four cycles, morning and evening.
- After a month, increase to eight cycles.
- Lighten up
To avoid back and neck strain, consider a cross-shoulder backpack. If flying and your carry-on is heavy, keep your wheel cart for terminal traversing.
Books, music, and comedies (on cassette tapes or CDs) are wonderful distractions to long waits in airports or traffic.
- Take an expectation poll
Before you leave, ask what your fellow travelers hope for the trip. Then, plan your time more effectively to avoid disappointments.
- Pack herbal teas
Keep a few bags in your carry-on or purse. Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) is relaxing; green tea purifies the body and lifts the spirit.
- Reacquaint in advance
Kids, and some adults, find it uncomfortable to warm up to unknown relatives or family friends. Show photos and share anecdotes ahead of time to decrease apprehension and break the ice.
- Turn over a new leaf
Perhaps this is the year to forgive a past grievance, give another chance, say a long overdue "I'm sorry" or an unsolicited "I love you." Making the conscious decision to look at things from a different perspective could be the greatest gift we give ourselves this holiday season.