TRAVEL | WELLNESS + SELF-CARE

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In June, I quit my day job and headed to the mountains for a much-needed vacation. (but, seriously)

This trip out west couldn't have come at a better time. I had just left my job to focus more on my other passions and pursuits, one of them being my work as a nutritionist, and I flew out the morning after my Sol Sistere dinner event. What a way to kick off the summer and to truly celebrate new beginnings. 

Travel is such a wonderful privilege, and I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to see and experience other parts of the world. It's kind of crazy when you think about it; we can just hop on a plane, take a snooze, and wake up somewhere entirely different from where we started. It's exciting! 

That being said, travel can also be very taxing on the body, physically and mentally. Some of us get anxious or nervous when we fly. Upon arriving at our destination, it can take time for the body to adjust to its new environment. You know what I mean: regular, not so regular?

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen the ongoing story that I shared during my recent trip to Alberta and British Columbia, all about travel wellness + self-care.

In addition to summarizing these tips below, I wanted to share my other healthy lifestyle suggestions + tricks of the trade, which I've integrated into my travel routine over the past several years. These tips can help to manage stress when traveling, as well as optimize your performance and well-being while away from home and out of sync from your regular routine.



| NUTRITION |

Pack your own food. It's no news that buying food at the airport can be expensive. It can also be difficult to find healthier options. Depending on what time of day you're traveling and how long your travel is, you'll want to pack some snacks. Normally, when I head out of town, my travel day meal or snack consists of a refrigerator clean-out. For this trip, I packed a container of raw carrots, micro greens dressed in lemon, olive oil, and sea salt, and some homemade seed crisp crackers. I also made a trail mix of raw nuts, seeds, dried berries, and coconut chips, and my boyfriend D and I snacked on this for the entire trip. Another great option is something like my Superwoman Energy Bites, which are high in fat and low in sugar. 

But, to eat or not to eat. For some, the anxiety and nerves that come with travel can prevent us from experiencing adequate digestion. Eating on a nervous stomach can actually cause a lot of discomforts. If this sounds familiar, you might want to consume an easy-to-digest smoothie full of nutrients prior to your flight, like my Immune Boosting Antioxidant Smoothie. 

Order wisely, even complimentary beverages. Especially complimentary beverages! Unless you're flying fancy (and even if you are), those complimentary beverages in economy class are best to be avoided. Sodas and fruit juices are full of sugar, and even the teas available on planes are often saturated with additives and artificial flavours. I always carry a few tea bags in my purse: tulsi for stress and energy, raspberry leaf for menstrual cramps and relaxation (I call it my 'anti-anxiety tea'), and green tea or matcha. Instead of ordering a soda or sugary juice, I'll ask for a cup of hot water and make my own tea. Even without tea, warm water works wonders for my digestion, especially when traveling.

Also: while you're at it, be sure to stay hydrated with lots of water before, during, and after flying ...bring your own refillable water bottle!

Adaptogens + superfoods for optimal function. Adaptogens are plants that help the body adapt to and cope with stress, so these can be really beneficial for managing jet lag or any other kind of travel-related stress. They're easy to add to water or tea. For this trip, we had Sun Potion ashwagandha on hand. Other superfoods or supplement powders that I brought along are L-glutamine (helpful for stress of the gut and tissue repair), collagen (my go-to for tissue repair and rebuilding), magnesium (for rest and relaxation), and a greens powder (for when I don't get all my veggies in). 

In addition to adaptogens and superfoods, I like to travel with a few first aid supplements. For me, this includes:

  • activated charcoal, helps rid the body of ingested toxins (ie. food poisoning)
  • bromelain, can help with digestion, but also allergies and to reduce inflammation
  • probiotics, again: great for digestion, can help to strengthen the immune system

I like to try and get my probiotics from foods, whether it's fermented vegetables or kombucha (which we managed to enjoy quite a bit during our travels). But traveling with probiotics is always a good backup. 



| MOVEMENT |

Find a hill and sprint it. For this trip, I was really excited that I'd be able to be outside and stay active in nature. My boyfriend and I found ways to get our sweat on everywhere we were. We went hiking in Jasper, swimming in the lake at my parents' cottage in BC, and trail running with hill sprints and core work back in Alberta. Being that the weather (+ stunning, mountainous scenery) was so beautiful everywhere we went, we also did as much walking as we could. The point is, we moved.

Bring along easy-to-pack equipment. Depending on how long and for what purpose I'm traveling, I will also sometimes pack a resistance band, which allows me to do workouts in my hotel room or wherever my travels may take me. Bands are a great way to complete a quick, effective workout, and they don't take up a lot of luggage space!

Stretch it out, the non-negotiable. If you're sitting for long periods of time, whether on a plane, a train, or in a vehicle, your body is going to be stiff. Stretching, yoga, call it what you will. I can assure you that your body will be craving some kind of movement, and stretching is something you can do anywhere with zero equipment. Again, the idea is to just get your body moving. Especially after long periods of being sedentary, it's important to move your body to increase blood circulation and encourage lymphatic drainage (ridding the body of toxins).



| SELF-CARE |

Make use of airplane mode. I mean, make use of the time you're up in the air. Flying is a great time to catch up on your beauty routine. On travel days, I like to slather my hair with coconut oil, tie it in a knot, and let it sit. Coconut oil is all I use to condition my hair on the regular, so why not get some deep conditioning in while flying? And, because planes are known for being incredibly dehydrating, I have been known to apply a face mask in the air (yes, I'm one of those people). But if not a face mask, then at the very least, I'll apply a thick moisturizer to my face before take-off. 

Come equipped with the necessary tools. I like to travel with a few ingredients so that I can whip up face masks and scrubs on the road. Because I wash my face with honey on the regular (another post, coming soon), I'll use this as my base for masks and scrubs. To it, I'll add either ground oatmeal or crushed lavender and rose petals for their gentle exfoliating properties, and a few drops of jojoba or argan oil. It's the easiest way to incorporate some luxurious DIY skin care when traveling. Another great idea: bring pre-blended face mask powders that just require added water.

Multi-purpose products. I love products that have multiple uses, and if you know me, you know that I use coconut oil for everything (hair conditioner, body moisturizer, sun protection, brushing my teeth, etc.). It's definitely one of my favourites for when I travel because I can bring one jar of coconut oil and not have to worry about a ton of other products.  

Give yourself permission to enjoy. Quite possibly the best suggestion in travel wellness + self-care is simply allowing ourselves to just be, leaning into relaxation mode or whatever the purpose and intent of your travel. Maybe that means indulging a little. You're on vacation, after all. And if it's work you're traveling for, they call it a working vacation for a reason! I'll admit, I indulged in a lot of coconut ice cream and fruit sorbets while we were out west. It was all very, very delicious. 

Make sure you do you. We're all human, which means we all need time to rest and recharge. Whatever that looks like for you, make sure you take the time, even while you're traveling and whatever kind of travel you're doing. If it's something that's more active and adventurous or laid back and relaxing, I think it's really important to check in and always take time for yourself.

 

Genevieve KangComment