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Jason travels a lot for work. Sometimes he’s visiting clients and he’s only gone for a few days at a time. Other times he’s gone for a month or more when he’s helping to open up a new branch for his company.
Whether it’s a short trip or a long one, one thing remains constant. Traveling is stressful.
It’s all the little things that you have to consider before you leave, like did I pack the right things? Will my bags make it there? Did I leave early enough to get there on time?
Then there’s the loneliness of being on the road, and the stress of trying to stay healthy. Whether that’s healthy food choices or getting enough exercise, it’s a lot to deal with.
At one point, Jason even thought about giving up his life on the road. Tired of the constant stress of being away from his family, he started looking for a job that didn’t involve travel.
In the end, though, he realized that he was doing what he loved. So instead he found ways to reduce some of the stress and to be more mindful of this health while he was traveling.
It has made a big difference.
Not only is Jason happier and healthier, but he is also more productive - which makes his boss happy too!
Mental Health of Business Travelers
Frequent travel has always been a cause of depression and anxiety. But, in recent years, the stigmas associated with mental health issues have faded. This has led to more conversations about easing the stress of frequent travel.
On Call International reports that 36% of business travelers feel more stressed than normal while traveling.1
What’s even more alarming, is a scientific study comparing business travelers. They compared people who travel 1-6 nights per month for work with those who traveled 21+ nights.
What they learned is that the longer people were away from home, the more likely they were to suffer. Those gone for 21+ nights had more issues with smoking, sleeping, alcoholism, and depression.2
This research tells us that travel is stressful. But more importantly, that longer trips are even harder. All travel takes a toll on your physical and emotional well-being, but longer trips are even worse.
Companies are using this information to find better solutions for their traveling associates. By helping them reduce stress, business travelers are happier, healthier, and more productive. Six important factors that they focus on are:
- Nutrition - maintaining a healthy diet
- Staying hydrated
- Limiting alcohol consumption
- Getting plenty of exercise
- Managing stress
- Staying on top of chronic illnesses
By addressing these issues, business travelers will be healthier and more at ease. Let’s dive in and learn more, shall we?
#1 - Nutrition
When traveling, it can be hard to stick with a healthy diet. Whether it's a snack at the airport gift shop, room service, or dinner with colleagues, unhealthy temptations are everywhere. In fact, 44% of business travelers report that they eat way more unhealthy food while traveling.3
With so many unhealthy options, there are a few steps you can take to make it easier to make good food choices.
One way to eat healthier is to make as many of your meals yourself as possible. This isn’t a new idea. Diet experts tell us this all the time. But it is not easy when you do a lot of traveling for work.
Jason decided to focus on a healthy diet and began to look for lodging choices that would make it easier. For short trips, he looked for hotels that included a mini-fridge and a microwave. That way he could keep healthier foods in his room like fruit, raw veggies, and yogurt
When on the longer assignments, Jason opts for corporate housing. Doing this gives him a full kitchen where he can prepare his meals “at home.” He still eats at restaurants sometimes, but not as often as his hotel stays.
This change has helped Jason stay on track and has kept his weight in check while traveling.
#2 - Staying Hydrated
Dehydration affects your body both mentally and physically. Even mild dehydration can impair energy levels, mood, memory, and brain performance.4
Believe it or not, staying well-hydrated is even harder when you are traveling. Airplanes, cars, and hotel rooms tend to be very dry. So when traveling, you need to drink more than the recommended amount. But be ready for those frequent stops in “Tinkle Town”!
Hydration helps with all sorts of good stuff.
- flushing toxins,
- improving brain function,
- keeping the digestive system moving, and
- helping you to feel more full (and less likely to overeat)
These are all things that we need even more while on the road!
#3 - Limit Alcohol Consumption
While we’re on the topic of drinking, let’s talk about drinking.
Now listen, a cocktail every now and then is awesome. Although on the road those opportunities come up a little more often.
- Happy hour at a professional conference
- Dinner and drinks with clients
- Grabbing a beer with colleagues from another branch
Those extra drinks can add up, and if you spend a lot of time traveling for work, it can become a problem.
Keep in mind that alcohol will lower your inhibitions and loosen your tongue. When you’re in the company of clients or your superiors, you want to stay sharp. With your career on the line, you want to always be mindful of how much alcohol you’re drinking.
#4 - Get Plenty of Exercise
Do you know that over half (54%) of business travelers are likely to ditch exercise while on a business trip?5
That is definitely a statistic Jason doesn't want to be part of. He decided that regular exercise was a priority even when traveling. So he makes sure to always pack work-out clothes and his sneakers.
Most hotels have at least a few pieces of exercise equipment which is great. Then when in corporate housing, Jason uses the apartment community fitness centers.
Being away from his normal routine, Jason finds it helpful to create a new routine that keeps him moving. He found that if he exercises every day after getting home from work, he is able to be more consistent.
You might prefer a walk before breakfast to incorporate a little exercise into your day. But whether you’re taking a walk, or pounding out some push-ups each evening, make exercise a priority.
Regular exercise will help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce stress. So be sure to find ways to make it happen on the road when the stress and unhealthy eating are more likely to creep in.
#5 - Managing Stress
We talked about how much stress business travelers experience, but how do you keep that stress at bay?
Besides good nutrition and regular exercise, there are a few other things you can do.
For one thing, you need to get plenty of rest. This can be hard when you’re away from home, but here are some ideas that might help you get there.
- Bring along some bath salts and take a long soak in a hot tub to relax you.
- Take Melatonin before bed.
- Practice yoga, mindful breathing, or meditation to find your zen.
- Use an app to create white noise or gentle music that will help you get to sleep.
Loneliness, especially for those who are away from home longer, is also stressful. Staying connected to friends and family will make loneliness easier to deal with.
Jason began Facetiming with his family every morning over breakfast. That way he could keep the strong connection he wanted with his kids and wife. Hearing their plans for the day, and seeing their faces before heading off to work, was a great way to start his day.
#6 - Stay On Top of Chronic Illness
One thing business travelers might not think about is managing chronic illness. Many of us are dealing with some sort of chronic condition. For some it is diabetes, for others, it may be high blood pressure. Whether severe or not, there are many conditions that require daily medication.
Before leaving on a trip, it’s a good idea to sit down with your doctor to create a medical plan.
13% of travelers say they forget about daily medications while traveling on business.6 Having a written plan for your medications including when and how much will help. You'll also want to have copies of all your prescriptions to take along.
Before you go, find the location of the nearest pharmacy. You'll also want to identify an immediate care center that takes your insurance. This will be helpful in case you need medical attention while you’re away from home.
When packing your medication, take along 1 1/2 times the normal amount. That way you have what you need if travel plans change. And if your medication needs to stay cold, make sure you will have a refrigerator in your room.
Health and wellness are difficult to maintain while traveling. This is due in part to cramped quarters and a change to your daily routine.
For those like Jason, who are often away for longer periods of time it's even worse. They're at a higher risk for stress-related issues. But corporate housing offers a solution.
Since corporate housing uses residential apartment communities, travelers feel more at home. They have more room to spread out and relax. Plus, they have a full kitchen with all the dishes and cooking utensils needed to prepare their own meals.
This means fewer restaurant meals. High-calorie entrees and tempting cocktail menus are no longer a daily struggle. Now travelers are able to enjoy simple meals prepared at home.
Besides home-cooked meals, travelers will also find it easier to get regular exercise. With more space at home, they can bust a move with a work-out app, knock out some push-ups, or put on some music and dance the stress away. And that’s without ever stepping out the front door!
ExecuStay Midwest is a leader in corporate housing. They offer the comforts of home and treat their guests like a treasured family member. Your workforce will be healthy and comfortable while on extended assignments.
If you travel for work, stay with ExecuStay Midwest and be healthy and happy at your home away from home.