From 2+ Years On the Road: How to Keep Healthy Habits When Traveling
Listen to this post…
I think the perception is that it’s challenging to stay healthy when you travel.
I don’t agree.
(Did you think it’d be otherwise? :)
Of course it’s easier when you’re at home to maintain your habits: you have your things, you know the environment, etc.
But on the road…?
For many people, I think those habits go right out the window. Now it’s not because I think they don’t care—on the contrary, I think they DO want to keep up their rituals, they just don’t know how.
Where am I going to find _____?
How will I have time for _____?
Or the dreaded slippery slope: I don’t have _____, so I can’t do it at all!
Yikes! But luckily, there’s hope—and it comes in the form of two easy ideas (and they won’t even take up any room in your luggage):
Commitment and Flexibilty.
There’s the commitment to what you’re going to do (exercise regularly, meditate every day, eat lots of vegetables, etc.) and then having the flexibility with how that might happen when you’re on the road.
Let’s say you’re really into yoga. At home, you probably have your yoga clothes, your mat, and you may even have a nearby studio you enjoy. Perhaps you practice 3-4 times per week. Awesome!
So what happens when you travel?
Some people think, “I don’t have my clothes or my mat or my studio…so I guess I can’t practice.” Maybe it’s not that direct of a conclusion in your mind, but that’s usually what happens: it becomes an all-or-nothing deal. If we don’t have one thing, then why do it at all – it’s not going to be (gasp) perfect!
It’s kind of like saying, “I do yoga at 3:25 pm every day for 85 minutes, my mat faces a southwestern direction, and the sun hits me at an angle of 72 degrees.”
If those are your conditions for doing yoga, then yes, recreating that on the road might take a lot of work and could be stressful—or more than likely, you just won’t do it.
The challenge is that we subconsciously want things to be EXACTLY the same—and when they aren’t, we have no idea how to recalibrate.
INSTEAD: you simply take your commitment to practice and then are flexible (bonus: yoga pun!) with how it happens.
Maybe you only practice for 20 minutes, maybe you’re on a carpeted floor or outdoors in the grass, maybe you’re in your work clothes or you completely strip down!
It doesn’t matter! :)
The point is: you’re showing up and honoring your commitment however you can, given your circumstances.
The act itself is not important; the consistency of the act is. ~ from The Power of Habit by Jack D. Hodge
BOOM. Thanks Hodge.
I’ve done yoga in so many places: living rooms, bedrooms, hotel rooms, parks, the beach—even in my TINY first class compartment on the train (see above)!
Nope, exercise can’t hide from ME!! :)
I almost never use a mat (unless at a class or am staying with someone who has one)—and yoga clothes?? Well given how few clothes I own, let’s just say I typically go with the “less is more” option for my practice. ;)
Don’t ever judge your practice – that’s not for us to do. It’s not, “well, I don’t have ______ or I didn’t do ______, so this wasn’t any good.” (Or worse, you think this way upfront and it stops you from even going through with your commitments.)
I’ve had TONS of meditation sessions that “felt” horrible, but I can take solace that I’ve at least attempted to tranquilize my mind for a few minutes, rather than just allowing my brain to spin.
I’m also enjoying the long-term effects of meditating daily for almost 1000 days straight! Wouldn’t be nearly as powerful to have a practice of “only when I feel like it….”
Show up and put in the effort, and even if you don’t immediately see the benefits, know that they are there! Plus: you’re living with INTEGRITY and taking care of yourself—how could that NOT feel good?! :)
So how else might this idea apply in our lives?
- Meditation: squeeze it in wherever and whenever—might even be 15 minutes on the bus (happened to me!)
- Food: go for the options that most closely align with your choices—better to eat just a little bit outside the norm rather than go completely in the other direction
- Reading: carry a book in your jacket and bust it out when you have free time!
If you like a smoothie in the morning but don’t have access to a blender, how else might you be able to incorporate a lot of fruits and veggies into your meal? What’s available?
Get creative! HALF of our brain is designed for just these kinds of situations—you know, the side that many of us (including me!) keep dormant too often! :)
Of course you always want to be striving toward your ideal: if that’s meditating for 30 minutes right when you get up and you have the opportunity to do that when you travel, then go for it!
This Commitment/Flexibility approach is more for the times when it’d be easy to stress about how you’re going to do it!
Remember: we get no prize for being perfect 100% of the time. If we can meet our commitments 80 or 90% of the time at home, that’s fantastic!!!! On the road: maybe it’ll be 70%—and that’s still amazing! Heck, even 50% is better than 0! :)
Just do your best, have fun (!), and keep learning and growing!
Besides: why would you want to go somewhere different and then do things exactly as you do at home—what fun is that?!
Travel is about learning, discovering, expanding, and growing!
It throws us new ideas and challenges us.
If we’re so caught up in doing things according to plan, we’re going to miss what the world is showing us. :)
What do you think about taking Commitment and Flexibility on your next trip?
I’d love to hear your response + any other thoughts you have below.
Any questions? Send ’em this way!
From the road…