Cold and Flu Season: How Business Travellers Can Stay Healthy
It’s the middle of cold and flu season but you have a business trip on the horizon. How do you stay healthy? Despite numerous opportunities to sit – on a plane, in a car, during meetings, and so on – the reality is that quite often business travellers do not feel rested. In fact, it’s usually quite the opposite. Travelling can be taxing on the body, leaving you tired, dehydrated, and exposed to more germs than usual.
With a little preparation, there are a number of steps business travellers can take to prioritize their health on-the-go.
Wash Your Hands Frequently
Washing your hands is easily one of the most important things to remember when you’re travelling for business – even more so if you’re flying. In fact, last year new research suggested that your proximity to other passengers can actually increase your likelihood of getting sick. It’s also a good idea to keep hand sanitizer with you and avoid touching your face.
Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate.
Flying can dehydrate you because the cabin is so dry. When you’re travelling, pay close attention to your water intake. You can carry a refillable water bottle to top up when you pass security or opt for water over other in-flight beverage options.
What may surprise you is that hotel rooms can also be quite drying as they often use in-room HVAC systems. To combat this, consider a travel humidifier – these can provide both your skin and your sinuses a bit of much-needed relief. Additionally, moisturizing products such as body lotion and lip balm can help you combat the effects of a dry hotel room.
Make Healthy Food and Drink Choices
Reconsider the salty snacks and complimentary wine when you're flying. Alcohol and sodium can actually worsen the impact of dehydration, which can cause headaches or digestive discomfort. Plus, your immune system can be weakened by alcohol intake, making you more vulnerable to the cold-causing germs you may come into contact with. When you’re travelling for business, you should not only avoid alcohol and salty foods, but also look at healthy snacks you can pack or better alternatives at the airport.
Reduce Your Stress Levels
Business travel can feel stressful. Your routine is interrupted, you’re away from the office, you may be facing additional work pressure, and the nature of travel itself can introduce unexpected hurdles – from flight delays to missed connections.
While some of this is entirely out of your control, there are measures you can take to reduce much of your stress ahead of time. Consider tasks you can delegate at the office so you don’t come back to a more challenging workload or apps that will help you increase productivity when you’re working remotely – such as Slack or Teamwork. Knowing you have provisions in place to help things running smoothly in your absence will give you peace of mind so you can focus on the purpose of your trip.
Prepare for Jet Lag
Jet lag can be quite stressful on your body and if you’re crossing multiple time zones for your business trip, this can have a significant impact on how you’re feeling. Fortunately, you can take steps to prepare yourself for it ahead of time, such as:
- Go to bed a little earlier the night before a red eye flight
- Set your watch to your new time zone to help you adjust psychologically
- Choose a seat on the plane that you’ll be comfortable enough in to get some rest.
Other ways to prepare for jet lag include staying hydrated, eating healthy foods, and even visiting airport lounges specifically designed to combat jet lag.
Although your routine may be completely interrupted, it’s important to prioritize exercise when you’re travelling. There are a number of ways to easily incorporate healthy activity into your trip beyond the traditional gym. From airport yoga to hotel fitness programs, business travellers have an increasing number of options to help them prioritize wellness.
Alternatively, a light walk can also be a great way to explore your new surroundings!