At its best, business travel is positively thrilling - you’re in a new city every week, getting paid to see the world, staying in great hotels, and expensing it all in the name of professional development.
But after awhile, even the sexiest business travel jobs can start to take their toll. Loneliness, poor diet, lack of exercise, and the never-ending grind of air travel can cause depression, anxiety, and even feelings of hopelessness.
If business travel’s got you down, here are some safe, effective, natural ways to reignite your love for being on the road.
Eat like you’re at home - Travel is a tempting excuse to throw caution to the wind, dine out every meal, and empty the minibar every single night.
But for frequent business travellers, vacation-style eating can quickly add up to extra pounds, feelings of sluggishness, low energy, irritability, and brain fog. No wonder you’ve been feeling depressed!
Steer clear of chain restaurants and seek out markets and grocery stores whenever possible.
Dine in local, family-owned restaurants where you can customize your order with fresher, healthier ingredients.
For shorter trips, bring healthy snacks with you from home. Snacking regularly will keep your blood sugar steady, prevent energy crashes, and stop you from impulse eating - all of which will improve your sense of well-being.
Do micro workouts - You may not have the time or energy to hit your hotel gym while traveling, but that doesn’t mean giving up on exercise altogether. Doing just 10 pushups or 20 sit-ups in your hotel room can get the blood pumping and ward off depression.
Schedule walking meetings so you can get some exercise and see the sights while conducting business.
Park your rental car in the furthest parking spot from the venue to get in some extra steps - every little bit helps!
Choose a fun physical activity to entertain or meet with clients. Instead of dinner and drinks, why not take them dancing, roller-skating, or paddle boarding?
Schedule your sleep - Long flights and the resulting jet lag can wreak havoc on your mental clarity and mood. Sleep deprivation has been known to cause irritability, depression, and even hallucinations. That’s why it’s crucial to get plenty of deep, restorative sleep while travelling.
Schedule extra travel days around long-haul flights to give yourself time to recover. While you can’t fully adjust to a 12-hour time difference in just a few days, you can give yourself a solid 24 hours to rest, relax, and ease into the new time zone.
Choose a sleep-friendly hotel. This might mean staying farther away from your meeting site, splurging for a suite, or booking an AirBnB house all to yourself.
Meditate throughout your travels. Meditation improves the quality of your sleep, helps you function better on less sleep, and keeps you energized throughout the day. It’s also easy to do in airports and on long flights.
If you think business travel is causing your depression, give yourself some credit: travel is incredibly fun, but it’s also incredibly stressful. It’s perfectly normal to feel depressed, anxious, or hopeless after long-term exposure to high levels of stress.
Try going back to basics. Tiny, consistent changes in your diet, exercise, and sleep habits can have a massive impact on depression and anxiety.
Rebecca Anne Nguyen is a freelance writer and travel passionista. She blogs about culture, creativity, and consciousness at TheHappyPassport.com.