Not so easy, with all the temptations and distractions. It takes COMMITMENT! However, it’s a commitment to yourself. And, if that word commitment is a struggle for you; how about INVESTMENT in yourself? Is that better? Okay, whether you are committing or investing in YOU, it will still come with its challenges. Here are some tips to consider and think about to help with the process.
1. Stay Hydrated – Long flights, changing climates and busy schedules can be dehydrating to our bodies. Develop a habit of having water with you. The first thing I do when I check into a hotel is get bottled water at a local store. If it can fit in the minibar or if there is a refrigerator in the room even better. I like water chilled vs room temperature.
2. Consume Minimal Alcohol – This can be difficult when you have dinners, receptions and networking events to attend. And, sometimes when you are entertaining clients, you may feel pressured to drink that extra glass of wine or cocktail, especially if they are. At a reception, it’s just as easy to order a sparkling water “on the rocks” with lemon and lime and disguise your cocktail, if you feel like you need to. If you have a big client or colleague’s dinner, and know that you will be having wine, save that night for your consumption of alcohol and hold off on the other evenings to get that balance. Also, you don’t have to finish the drink. I know it’s not the most economical, but, sometimes, I order a drink and only take a few sips. This way, I don’t get questions, like “oh, why aren’t you going to join us for a drink” etc.
3. Exercise – Review your schedule, once you get settled in and find a window that you can get in a run, a stretch, a walk or better yet, a class at a local spin or yoga studio. Also, ALWAYS pack your sneakers and at least one set of workout clothes. I don’t love working out in the early morning, in fact, I despise it, but sometimes that is the only window I have and I just do it. If you have a 4 day trip and can work out at least once, you are not so far off your routine if you work out regularly at home and can jump right back to it. Plus, you just feel SO much better. Perhaps, organize something with a colleague and you are more apt to stick to it.
4. Sleep – I truly wish I were one of those people who could function at a high capacity on 3 hours sleep. My truth is, I am not, one of them. If I don’t get enough sleep, I am cranky, lose my voice and eventually, get sick. But, it’s okay; I just have to allow time for enough sleep. Sometimes, that means leaving the party or event, a little early. As long as you get your business done, interact with the right people earlier in the evening, it’s totally acceptable. Plus, do you really want to be the last one leaving the party at a work event? Remember, you need to be productive the next day and think of the long term investment in yourself.
5. Quality Conversations – Engage in some genuine, heartfelt conversations with people. Whether it’s with someone new that you just met, or someone you have known for years. I just can’t tolerate the superficial, obligatory, politically correct, fake talk. We all know it doesn’t feel good, and I get sometimes, it can be part of that corporate culture, yet, when it gets beyond that and just real, authentic, truth there is something so much better that happens between people. These are the relationships that last the longest. Also, if you are like me and work virtually from your home, this is the “dosage” of interacting with others that sometimes we just crave or welcome, when you don’t work in an office environment. Take advantage of this time.
6. Learn Something New About the Destination – If it’s your first time visiting the city or country, add in a pre/post date to visit a local landmark, museum or restaurant to learn the culture. I love doing this. It makes me appreciate the fact that I do travel for a living and have such an opportunity to do this. When I return home, I always feel more enriched and not like I just went on a “business trip”. This is how we evolve and grow by being out of our comfort zones and trying something new.
7. Break Away – Break away; this can be tough ( at least for me, it is ) when you are with colleagues and wanting or feeling like you have to be everywhere and do everything, but, if you are mindful of this going in, you will manage to find some alone time each day. Perhaps scope out some space (indoor or outdoor) and escape to gather thoughts, notes, quick email catch up and make a call or two… just 30 minutes to unwind, and stay semi caught up before the evening events. You may even choose to mediate in your guest room in the morning or in the evening. (15 – 20 minutes for you to recharge).
8. Meal Selections/Choices – Breakfast, lunch, dinner, breakout snacks, in-room amenities, minibars, airports; so much food and assigned times to get it. This is where you can feel the most “tested” but can be the most “empowered” by making healthy choices for YOU. Are you really hungry or eating the candy and cookies on the break table because it’s there, or you are tired or just bored in your meeting? Do you really need that caffeine at 3:00pm or will it impact your metabolism or sleep pattern. Do you need a second dessert? Can you order the salad, with a protein and some healthy fats? And what about that gorgeous carrot cake pyramid in your guest room as an evening amenity when you come back to your room at 11PM – such great intentions by hotel, but do you really need to eat it ALL? Ask yourself these questions. Be mindful and honest with yourself. Choosing the healthier option makes me feel stronger and I continue making good choices throughout my trip.
9. Laugh and Have Fun – Maintain a sense of humor. Travel isn’t always easy, business is often competitive but, if you keep an open mind and maintain a sense of humor you will enjoy the process more. You will not be overwhelmed when there are delays, cancellations, lost luggage or worse, loss revenue or not getting that deal and you will continue to maintain a healthy balance.