While lots of things about the holidays are great, holiday travel is stressful. The roads and airports are crowded, the weather is not always cooperative, and the trips are often long. But don’t let holiday travel beat you down. Banish the stress and stay healthy with these five tips.
1. Carry healthy snacks with you. When hunger strikes, you may not have any healthy options available, especially on a delayed airplane or long car ride. So keep snacks with you. Healthy options include fruit, nuts and bottled water. If you must eat an airline snack, pick the one with the highest amount of protein — probably the peanuts — because it will sustain you longer. And if you will be flying during a regular mealtime, purchase something healthy and filling in the airport before you board the plane.
2. Take your vitamins and drink water. You are more susceptible to colds and other illnesses, as well as headaches and fatigue, when you travel because the associated stress can suppress your immune system. You can avoid these problems by ensuring you have sufficient nutrients and stay hydrated. Take your multivitamin and drink non-sugary drinks (preferably water) every day, at least 64 ounces for most people. Limit alcohol and caffeine because they are dehydrating.
3. Wash your hands, a lot. When you travel, you are touching a lot of surfaces that everyone else touched, too, and at least one of those people was probably sick. Keep the germs away by washing your hands frequently, especially before you eat. Most germs enter the body through the mouth and nose. Also try not to touch your face, nose, mouth or eyes.
4. Move. While traveling, get creative and incorporate movement. Don’t just sit and wait at the airport, instead go for a stroll. Walk up the escalator instead of riding it. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Reserve an aisle seat so you can walk the aisle of the airplane periodically. When driving, stop at a rest area and jog around. When you reach your destination, get to a gym or pool to exercise if you can. Or if you have the space, use a fitness app for a quick workout or yoga practice.
5. Sleep. Sleep is one of the best ways to stay healthy, in part because cutting your sleep short by even an hour or two reduces the effectiveness of your immune system by 25 percent. Try to get eight hours of sleep each night. Invest in an eye mask and earplugs so you can sleep even if your surroundings are noisy. An activity tracker, like Fitbit, is a great way to find out just how much sleep you are (or aren’t) actually getting.
The holidays and holiday travel are much more enjoyable when you feel well, so keep these steps in mind to stay healthy.