7 Ways to Stay (Emotionally) Grounded During Holiday Travel

I’ve been on the road with a touring musician for a year and a half, and I’ve learned a thing or two about travel. Packing light, editing what you plan to wear, and paring down toiletries and accessories are integral parts of traveling smart. But what about your overall emotional and physical well-being? Here are seven pointers to help keep it all in check as you roam during this holiday travel season.

1. Be prepared

Make certain that you pack way before your travel day(s), and confirm that you’re picking the appropriate items. For example, here’s a great site I recently used to see what I could and could not take in my carry-on luggage: http://apps.tsa.dhs.gov/mytsa/cib_home.aspx?search_term=

2. Don’t overextend yourself

Say “no” when you start to feel that you’ve overextended yourself with holiday obligations. Try grouping some visits together, and minimize driving, flying, and taking trains. How important is it that you hit every single event to which you’ve been invited? Think about your wellness, and avoid burnout.

3. Learn to meditate

I love meditation—even on days when I feel as though there’s absolutely no time for it. Those are the times when meditation is the handiest! If you already have a meditation practice, be sure to stick to it during holiday travel. If you have not yet tried it, poke around on YouTube and Google “meditation for beginners.” Another great place to begin is TM.org

4. Don’t eat junk food

It’s at the airport when you’re flying, the rest-stop when getting gas, and the checkout when you’re paying for those last-minute flowers. Just say “no!” Don’t put junk into your body—if you do, you’ll pay the price with puffy eyes, sugar crashes, and irritability. Stick to consuming real, whole foods, and even step things up in the leafy greens department. Kale chips and dried seaweed are a nice way to sneak greens into your day when running around out there.

5. Focus on comfort without looking messy

Dress sensibly on travel days, and you’ll be able to function properly. It’s ridiculous to wear skinny jeans and heels on days where you’re hopping in and out of buses and airplanes. Put yourself in a position where you can quickly get through it comfortably while looking put together. Simple black yoga pants with a funky T-shirt, big sunglasses, and blazer are great ways to go. You’ll like you made an effort—leave the sweatpants for bedtime.

6. Make time for exercise, even on travel days

Set your alarm a bit early and roll out that yoga mat, go for a run, or hop on the elliptical. We all know that exercising every day improves sleep, reduces stress, improves cognitive functioning, and keeps your circulation flowing. Travel days bring new anxiety, so help yourself invest in a good workout before hitting the road.

7. Use technology

Finally, register for text or email alerts with your airline so you’ll be aware of changes as they happen. Some online travel apps such as Expedia even offer apps that help keep you posted, play by play. Be prepared for delays, and try to breathe deeply and hydrate through it all.

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