We’ve all had this business trip, right? You’re late leaving the office, traffic to the airport is horrendous and then the line for security is a mile long. The flight is delayed, your seatmate is less than benign, and the hotel bed is lousy. Ugh. Not the best way to be nice and fresh for a day of meetings a couple time zones away.
It all adds up to mountains of stress. While a business trip can be very fruitful, it can also be a series of headaches and heart palpitations, which makes it difficult to deliver your best performance in the boardroom.
Too often, stress is a given part of business travel, which makes us detest the notion of flying somewhere for a meeting. Of course, it doesn’t have to be a monumental headache … it just seems that way. Some folks might tell you to just relax and let it roll off your back, but we know that that kind of tone-deaf advice will likely only raise your blood pressure further. So, short of bookending your trip with a silent retreat (not a terrible idea), here are some ideas on reducing the stress that most business travelers face:
Eat (and drink) right. When traveling, the big, long drink-filled dinner is often a staple. Try to dial that back. Don’t overindulge on booze – it might temporarily alleviate your stress, but the next morning will be far worse. Order a low-fat entrée –how about some fish? Eating healthily will be better for your stress levels, which have already been tested simply by the tightly scheduled rigors of travel. Healthier meals will give you energy to overcome time zone changes and to meet the challenges of the road.
Get comfy. Being away from home throws you out of your comfort zone, so be sure to bring a little bit of home with you, and get at least a little bit of relaxation that you (presumably) get at home. That can mean bringing your pillow or other comforts of home, sitting down to read a book or doing some other hobby, or even just taking a quick power nap.
Don’t forget the office. Being out of the office and on the road for a few days can mean that a pile is growing on your desk, and the fear of falling behind can add to the stress of the trip. Before you leave, try to be as caught up as possible, and keep pace with email and other tasks as much as possible while traveling.
Exercise. Working out releases endorphins, the so-called “happy hormones.” An increase in endorphins in your body leads to a feeling of euphoria, reduction of appetite, the release of sex hormones and a better immune response. All of this helps combat the negative effects of stress.
Get some sleep. This is especially true if you’re traveling across time zones. You’ve certainly had nights, whether traveling or not, when you haven’t gotten enough sleep and you’re probably jittery, i.e., stressed out. Getting a good night’s sleep will keep your body fresh and ready to battle stress when something inevitably goes wrong.
Photo by thinkpanama.