For those of you who have been known to wake up in cold sweats because your life feels dangerously akin to George Clooney’s in “Up in the Air,” this post is for you.
One of my favorite things about my current job is how much I get to travel. It is also the greatest challenge to my personal commitment to leading a healthy and active lifestyle. No matter how good my intentions are to maintain a workout routine and nutritious diet while on the road, I have a hard time sticking to it. Honestly, it’s hard to find time between meetings and emails to fit in your fitness. And when your job involves networking events and client dinners as mine does, it’s not always so easy to resist temptation when the friendly waiter offers you another yummy cocktail or the dessert menu.
So how do you avoid blowing all your hard work in a week or two on the road? Find balance.
First of all, do what you can, when you can. Over the course of the last two weeks on the West Coast I managed to go for two runs, attend one yoga class, do a 30-minute yoga podcast, fire-up my Jillian Michael’s “Butt & Thighs” DVD twice, and get my ass kicked in my first TRX circuit training workout (so much fun!). Not bad, but not my normal regime. Each of these activities took 30 minutes to an hour–i.e. long enough to maintain my fitness level but not so time-consuming that they threw off my tight meeting schedule.
Second of all, be compassionate with yourself. It’s easy to start feeling guilty for a few days without a workout or splurging on that delicious huevos rancheros with a side of bacon at breakfast, but cut yourself some slack. Always keep in mind that life is to be enjoyed–remember moderation–and stressing won’t do you any good. In fact, it activates Cortisol, a hormone found in your body which makes you store fat, in particular around that muffin top/love handle area–fun fun! So relax because we all fall off the horse at times. The important thing is that you don’t throw in the towel just because you let yourself indulge a little in that bomb brunch or red velvet cupcake. Rather than wallowing in self-judgment after an indulgence, get up and go for a long walk or skip the elevator and take the stairs. Balance.
Finally, be creative. While it is important to work physical activity into your busy days and be forgiving of occasional gluttony when you’re on the road, it’s also important to take advantage of opportunities to be good to your body. Case in point, San Francisco International Airport’s “Yoga Room.” Not every airport or city will have a tranquil space devoted exclusively to yogis just after getting through security, but when it’s there, you best use it! Since I always travel with my yoga mat as carry-on–and tend to be in Lululemon pants and slouchy tops on my travel days–I was prepared to capture this golden opportunity and get in 45 minutes of playful flow before heading to my gate. My 5+ hour flight back to DC was so much more manageable having had the opportunity to move and stretch beforehand.
Whatever you do, wherever your busy life takes you, be kind to yourself—both in body and mind. You’ll come home feeling much happier, relaxed and prepared to take flight again.