7 Ways to Stay Balanced While Traveling
When it comes to your health, have you ever felt you're on a roll—eating well, sleeping well, and exercising—but then you travel and your entire routine crumbles? Me too. Creating routines that best serve us isn't always easy, but sustaining them while we're working out of town or trekking the globe presents its own set of challenges. How do we navigate new time zones, different foods, varied climates, and unfamiliar mattresses (or sleeping bags) in a way that promotes balance? As always, Ayurveda is here to guide you.
Bring your creature comforts with you.
Bring a small bag of golden milk powder wherever you go. Most hotels have soy or almond milk in addition to dairy milk. Just order it and add the golden milk powder to your hot milk in the cozy comfort of your hotel room. Golden milk will support a good night's rest—even in an unfamiliar setting.
Soothe your senses with lavender essential oil.
Not only is the fragrance of lavender soothing to the senses, the botanical qualities also calm the nervous system. Essential oils make for easy travel companions because they're small and durable. Place your tiny jar in a sealed bag (to prevent leaking) and put it in your purse. Once you get to your destination, add 6–8 drops of the lavender oil to a hot bath and soak to decompress. Additionally, you can add 2–4 drops of lavender oil to coconut oil to give yourself a summer vacation abhyanga (self-oil massage). Anytime we travel our vata goes up, so remember to apply the oil in a slow and firm manner to elicit a grounding feeling for your body and mind.
Prepare for time zone changes.
Bring ashwagandha with you. It comes in powder, but tablets will likely be easiest for transport. Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb, so it helps you adapt to new time zones. And as an adaptogen, ashwagandha has the capacity to relax you when you're hyper and boost your energy when you're drowsy. Plants are intelligent! They are attuned to the active energies that come from the sun and the passive energies that accompany the moon. By taking ashwagandha you ingest the universal intelligence that knows when to sleep and when to rise. In addition to taking ashwaganda immediately upon landing, adjust your sleep schedule to match the new time zone. For example, if you fly to India and land at 11 a.m., you may be exhausted but don't go to sleep. Encourage yourself to stay up until at least 8 or 9 p.m. This way you'll feel more in sync with the local time when you wake up in the morning. Ashwagandha is also a primary ingredient in I Travel Well liquid extract, which is loaded with additional adaptogens to keep you grounded.
New culture, new food; bring probiotics and digestive teas.
By taking a probiotic and drinking your familiar digestive teas (such as CCF tea which is made from the seeds of cumin, coriander, and fennel) you'll boost your gut flora and safeguard your digestive capacity. You want to enjoy exciting new flavors and aromas without worrying about how your tummy will react. Be proactive by starting your probiotic and digestive tea at least one week before departure.
Schedule down time.
Block down time so you don't return from your vacation feeling like you need a vacation. It's easy to get caught up in the hustle and exhilarating pace of a new place. Remember to intentionally plan down time so that excessive amounts of adventure don't wind up draining you. When planning a trip, consider the sweet balance of exploration and ease.
Make sure you sleep well.
Place a heavy pillow or stack of several pillows over the pelvis. The weight of the pillow(s) on your pelvis will ground your root chakra so you'll feel safe and supported.
Support proper elimination.
Constipation is a common side effect of traveling. Traveling raises vata, and vata stools are dry and pellet-like. I always bring Triphala tablets with me. Triphala is a traditional Ayurvedic herbal formula that promotes proper elimination. I find that taking 2–4 tablets before bed paired with a big mug of warm water and a heaping tablespoon of coconut oil or ghee helps reestablish regular bowel movements. The warm water smooths the muscle lining, the warm oil helps to lubricate your elimination system, and the triphala helps move everything through. You may need to repeat this nightly bowel elixir for several nights in a row. Alternatively, you can bring senna leaf tea. Senna leaf will give you the benefits of a gentle laxative effect without any habit forming or stimulating effects.
If you’re traveling, have a great trip! These tips are also great for non-traveling times too. Remember, whether you're home or away, always take good care of yourself. Bon voyage!