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Last month, I traveled to Chicago for work for five days. While many people think work travel is a luxury, planning and implementing a 100 person conference is a lot of hard work and doesn’t come with much down time or opportunities to explore. After traveling over a handful of times for work, I have mastered a system that allows me to keep as close to my normal schedule as possible. Below find some ways to stay sane and survive work travel!
Hold Yourself Accountable
I realized, during the same trip last year, I barely left the hotel or saw the light of day, so I knew I needed to change that this year. A few of us started a group text and made prioritizing sanity and working out part of our days. Holding each other accountable with wake up texts and a guaranteed workout buddy is the best way to make sure you get in a good sweat. I also got an Apple Watch for my birthday and have become addicted to hitting my steps every day. Even though the conference was on one floor, I was constantly running back and forth and able to hit over 10,000 steps every day. I also chose to take the steps over the escalator or elevator whenever possible. My watch keeps me accountable and helps motivate me to make the decisions I would usually make if I were at home.
The first morning if the trip, admittedly with more energy than I found all weekend, a colleague and I wandered to a recommended place for breakfast so we didn’t fall into the room service and hotel food every day. We passed through Millennial Park, home to the famous Bean, and enjoyed a quiet breakfast of tea, acai bowls and avocado toast. The best way to see a city is before everyone else wakes up.
Take Care of Yourself
When you’re running around (in event t-shirts, sneakers and fanny packs) it’s hard to remember to put yourself first. I made sure to drink enough water, eat healthy food (again, for the most part) and give my body the fuel it needed. When time allows during work travel, I find the nearest CVS or grocery store and grab a small case of water. This way, I have cold water in my fridge in my room at all times. (I have also started doing this with La Croix because the addiction is real).
Disconnect and Unwind
When I am on vacation, I love sleeping in hotel beds and sleeping for many hours. When I travel for work, this does not happen. I often get into bed still stressed, worked up and thinking about what time I need to get up the next AM. For the past year, each time I travel, I make sure to bring a book and read for at least 15 minutes before turning off the lights and going to sleep. This helps my brain decompress. I also just downloaded the Calm app, used mostly for meditation but has amazing “Sleep Stories.” They are 20 minute records that are designed to help you release focus and fall asleep.
Do you travel ever for work? Do you have any more tips for how to how to stay sane and healthy living out of a hotel and suitcase? Hopefully some of these tips can make it an enjoyable trip, focusing on yourself! &.
*Kasia again! Want to guest post on Ampersand? Shoot me an email– firstname.lastname@example.org.