In case you didn’t know already, I love traveling! I love even the long flights that leave you feeling drained and exhausted in a faraway land. It’s in these moments when I feel most lost that I find myself all over again. Because I have found a few small tricks that make me feel more like me even when I don’t know where I am or who or how or why. Here are my tips for surviving long flights:
1. Mindfulness Meditation
Taking care of my health and wellness does not take a break when I’m traveling. If anything, it’s more important than ever after a long flight. A few minutes of quiet meditation before, during, and after the flight allows me to find stillness in a busy day and reminds me to stop rushing and enjoy the journey – a perfect metaphor for life! Manchester airport has a lovely prayer room that was quiet and peaceful and perfect to prepare me for the long journey ahead. However, mindfulness does not need a special place or time. A moment of reflection can be found even in a busy airport or a crowded plane. And where does my mind go when I manage quiet all the busy thoughts? Gratitude! See number 6.
2. Warm water
During the flight, I drank plenty of warm water. My friends in China will understand the importance of hot food and drinks! “Hot water, good for healthy” used to be the butt of many jokes among my expat friends and I, but after a year in China, I am converted. I have found it to be calming to the nervous system, it aids digestion, and helps me sleep – which is all so important in overcoming jet lag, wherever we are in the world!
– To find out more about the benefits of hot water, click here: https://www.organicolivia.com/2014/12/why-you-should-only-drink-hot-water/
– For more information about Traditional Chinese Medicine, here is a stepping stone to yin and yang and our connection with the elements: https://agelessherbs.com/yin-yang-theory/
My first priority when I landed at Beijing airport was to get outdoors. I was tired. I slept only a few short hours on the flight, and my brain and body were confused. Imagine the looks I got from taxi drivers, security guards, and fellow travelers as I stood outside the arrivals hall, took off my shoes, and curled my toes into the pavement. But did I care? Not one bit. Because it’s so important to me to connect with the earth I am standing on and notice how it feels. How often do we allow our feet to touch the ground? Not enough in my opinion! I find I am always either indoors or wearing shoes. But that moment when my feet touched Chinese ground I remembered where I was, and why I have come back to this beautiful country.
– For more information about connecting with our earth, here is a great link: https://grounded.com/what-is-earthing
Traveling can be hard on the body. Lots of sitting down in uncomfortable planes, trains, and automobiles can take its toll! Even if it’s a quick stretch to make my body more comfortable or a long yoga session, feeling connected to my body and my breath helps so much with relaxation. It helps me to sleep and de-stress when I’m traveling. Before I flew home to the UK, I found myself sitting on the dirty floor in Beijing airport stretching out my tired muscles for more than an hour! And I felt the tension leaving my body and I slept so well on that flight!
5. Keep in touch!
When I got settled into my hostel in Beijing I made time to speak to my friends and family and share how I was feeling. A problem shared is a problem halved, after all! When I am really tired I feel emotional, a little lost and confused, and that can lead to loneliness when traveling by myself far from home. Feeling the love and support of those closest to me definitely helps. It never fails to pick me up!
I am thankful for a safe journey! Now I’m back in Beijing, I am eating a healthy plant-based diet and trying to continue all these wonderful practices to help me adjust to China time. I still feel tired and it will take time to feel completely normal again, but at least my body has stopped shaking and the room is no longer spinning when I lay down! Jet lag can be really difficult for the mind and body but these practices never fail to make me feel more like me again! I am so thankful for all the things I have found that make traveling easier, and for all the experiences that taught me these valuable lessons. And of course, I am eternally thankful for my wonderful network of support around the word that makes all this traveling worthwhile!
As Deepak Chopra said: “Gratitude opens the door to… the power, the wisdom, the creativity of the universe”.
Watch this space for more posts that follow my journey into mental and physical health and wellness around the world. Thanks for reading!