Travel can be wonderful, especially when we’ve not done it for some time, bringing a change of scenery, deepened perspective, and fun adventures.
But it can also be a complicated source of anxiety when we’re navigating illness, dealing with autoimmune conditions, or managing stringent dietary requirements.
Even amidst the spirit of wanderlust, we may need to maintain a more mindful lifestyle.
I know this deeply, as it is my lived experience, as someone with an autoimmune condition.
Here are six self-care strategies I follow to help manage my health when I’m away from home:
1. Prep meals and snacks ahead of time. I always grocery shop a bit before traveling to make sure I bring along healthy and supportive food options. This way when I stay in a cottage or apartment, my breakfasts are already all set. If you are out and about for an activity-filled day, it’s especially important to stock snacks or a pre-packed lunch in your bag, as you may not end up in a place that can support your dietary requirements. And your fuel matters!
2. Research options ahead of time. Bookmark a few places to shop for food (like farm hops, local gourmet delis that carry products you love and need, or natural food stores). Make a note of cafes and dining options that cater to diverse dietary restrictions. I always book a few meals ahead of time, after reviewing online menus or phoning a restaurant to check on their options. This gives you something to look forward to — and the reassurance of knowing you won’t need to worry about not having options when you’re hungry after a long day out!
3. Travel with your hot water bottle. This way, if I have a flare-up or am just feeling achy, I can sleep with it on my lower-belly or use it for back support.
4. Carry a travel yoga mat. Have mat, will travel! Moving your body for even a few minutes always helps. (Even a long hotel towel will do, if you can’t manage to bring your mat. Sprinkle a little water on it to make it less slippery.) This way you can find time and space to practice anywhere — preferably outdoors, weather-permitting.
5. Bring a lavender eye pillow to promote sleep. Getting good rest can be tricky when we’re in a new setting, especially if crossing time zones is involved. A simple eye pillow can be a helpful addition. Lavender lends a soothing touch.
6. Give yourself a “rest day” off after you return from your time away. This is important! We don't always sleep as well when we are away from home, and our trips can be busy with social commitments, sightseeing, and adventures. That rest day will pay you in dividends as you settle back into your regular routine.
Janine holds a Master of Public Health and is a RYT vinyasa and yin yoga teacher. She is a certified Wellness Coach with the Institutes for Integrative Nutrition, and is currently enrolled in the 500 Hr Insight Yoga Institute. You can learn more about Janine on her website or @janinetandyyoga.
Feature photo via Rawpixel.com/Adobe Stock