By Annie Davies, health coach at StayWell
It’s tough enough to stay healthy when remaining close to home. When you’re attending out-of-town tradeshows, conferences, or other business trips—with jam-packed schedules, high-calorie dinners, and nights spent in unfamiliar surroundings—it can be even more challenging to stick to a healthy routine.
Whether you’re packing for a tradeshow or other travel, don’t forget the essentials—a laptop, comfy shoes, and these business travel tips help you balance work and well-being when you’re on the road.
Understand that a balanced diet isn’t a cookie in each hand
Just because you have a lot on your plate while traveling doesn’t mean it’s okay to literally have a lot on your plate. Rather than binging on calorie-laden meals and cocktails, think of food as the fuel that keeps your body performing at its best.
Choose lean protein, high-fiber, and whole grain–rich foods; and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Avoid foods high in sugar, unhealthy snacks, and fast food temptations. Consider using a local grocery store’s app to get healthy foods delivered to your room. You can also use food delivery apps to order balanced meals from local restaurants.
Bring a cooler bag packed with fruits and veggies, raw nuts, string cheese, and some salad fixings; and place it in your hotel room’s fridge. Use the hotel’s ice machine to restock your cooler bag daily, and bring it along to the tradeshow floor or meetings.
Don’t forget to stay hydrated. Aim to drink eight to 10 8-oz glasses of water daily, unless you have fluid restrictions. A simple way of doing it would be to keep a 32-oz water bottle with you, and drink at least two of them.
Work in a workout for a strong body and mind
Remember to use your wearable device to track your steps, since they add up quickly when you spend several hours walking around exhibition halls. If your busy schedule makes it hard to get to the gym, try using a workout app for exercises you can squeeze in between sessions. Or get moving the classic way—do lunges or squats in your hotel room, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or go for a walk around the hotel grounds.
Tradeshows and client meetings are a great time to exercise your brain too. Network with others and attend program sessions to learn something new.
Bring “om” with you
There’s no place like om—so bring it with you on the road. Meditate upon waking—to calm your mind and soothe your nervous system. You may soon feel results with just five to 10 minutes of meditation a day. Add stretching or yoga for a Zen-like start to your morning and boost to your energy.
Create a clear daily action plan to help reduce distraction or stress. For instance, your regular tradeshow plan could prioritize meeting the contacts who could best impact your organization. Don’t overschedule. And take small breaks throughout the day—try just sitting quietly for a few minutes—to help you stay focused.
Even if your schedule doesn’t go completely according to plan, choosing happiness goes a long way in making it a better day!
Get a good night’s sleep without counting sheep
After a long day walking a tradeshow floor or sitting in client meetings, you deserve a good night’s sleep. But sleeping away from home can be difficult when you’re out of your normal routine. Avoid heavy meals, alcohol, or caffeine if they interfere with your sleep. Stick to your regular bedtime, if possible.
Turn off your phone, TV, and computer 30 minutes to an hour before bed since the blue light they emit can disrupt sleep. Travel with a sleep mask, and earplugs or a white noise app to counter light or a noisy hotel room. You can even pack your own pillow for added comfort that makes it feel like “home sleep home.”
Get help from a health coach
Ask your employer if you have health coaching for extra help in setting and reaching your wellness goals—one small, healthy step at a time.