Travelling for work can take quite a toll on your body. There’s transit times, artificial climates if you’re on a plane, being out of your comfort zone, jet lag and on top of this there’s the actual work you’re supposed to be doing!
If you have a digestive health condition, business travelling can be even more of a pain – strange food, disrupted sleep and meal times, added stress and too much work can all impact your immune system and trigger uncomfortable symptoms. And uncomfortable symptoms are made even more so if you’re far from the comfort of home.
Sometimes business travel is a necessary evil, but with a few precautions and some mindfulness of your condition, it can be made to feel more like a pleasure than a pain.
It seems obvious, but having the things you need readily available in your luggage can take the pressure off when you feel like a fish out of water in a new city. Ideally you’ll be able to fit all you need for your trip in a carry-on so there’s no waiting around the airport after you land. If your trip is longer or you need to check your bags, be sure to pack double ups of important things like clean underwear, medication, pain killers and prescriptions in your hand luggage. You don’t want to be caught out if your checked bags are lost or delayed – that scenario is stressful enough without having a flare-up of symptoms and no medication on hand to ease things.
Plane food, travel food, fast food grabbed in transit – it’s all pretty bleak. When you’re on the run it can be easy to get out of whack with your eating and mindlessly grab something that’s less than ideal for your digestive health. When your body is already disrupted from the norm by transit, time differences and long hours, the least you can do is nourish it well and steer clear of unkind foods. Try packing your own food to take with you on the plane, train or in the car. If your trip takes you overseas it’s worth doing a bit of online recon about the local food and restaurant options. If you’re caught out, check with your hotel or a friendly local about where to eat if you have a sensitive stomach. Most people and establishments will do their best to accommodate your dietary requirements when given a little notice in advance about your health condition.
Sleep is the balm of the soul! Adequate rest is vital to keep operating at the top of your game. During long work trips it’s tempting to put in the extra hours and get as much done as possible while you’re away. Pushing yourself beyond the limits, especially if your health is already a little compromised due to stress or jet lag, is never advisable. Not only will it make you feel run down or more susceptible to stress and symptoms, your work will suffer as well. It’s far better to wrap up at a sensible time than continue working into the night. One hour’s work after a good sleep is as good as 3 hours work when you’re strung out and tired.
Having a chronic health condition is not your fault, nor is it anything to be embarrassed about. If you have concerns about a business trip, need to make special travel arrangements because of your health, or need to plan for downtime to manage your condition while you’re away from home – this is all fine. Just be sure to communicate that to your colleagues, associates or boss. With advanced warning and preparation there shouldn’t be any problem accommodating your needs to make your trip as good for your health as it is for your business.