How to survive work and travel?

A practical guide on how to survive the challenges of working away from home.

How to survive work and travel?

For many of us working in the corporate world, business trips are a normal part of the job. The more responsibility we have in a company, the more likely it is that we will need to travel to other locations for work.

Despite the fact that communication tools like video conferencing are more and more a common way to communicate with each other worldwide, nothing can replace the face-to-face interaction necessary to deepen the relationships between colleagues in different locations of a company, ensuring that everything is going according to plan and that everybody understands their role and purpose with regards to the company’s current strategy. This is best achieved by meeting each other personally.

Depending on how much one travels, one can reach a point where travelling can become very challenging – such as being away from home and family for a long time; jet lag due to different time zones; not being able to exercise during the business trip; adjusting to different food to what we may normally eat and at different times; rushing from one meeting to another to ensure that the time with people on location is used most efficiently, without having regular breaks, and the list goes on . . .

Does this sound familiar to you?

The risk of feeling exhausted and the body going into overdrive is very high. As long as there is enough time between business trips to recover and to take care of ourselves, everything resolves well, however when we don’t take the time to rest it is very likely that our body and general wellbeing will start to suffer and in the long run will signal – to please slow down.

If at that moment we are not open to receive and understand our body's message – to halt a momentum of constant doing – we will run our body down, which will ultimately end up in exhaustion.

Once the body's vitality is depleted, it is not uncommon to reach a point where our body will stop us without giving us any warning. To avoid such a situation, it is crucial that we take care of our body as much as possible, especially on business trips where the body may be facing more challenges than at home.

How can we take care of ourselves on business trips?

  • Once you have arrived at your destination, especially in a country with a different time zone, it is important to adapt to the day and night rhythm of the local time zone as quickly as possible – this means for example, you go to bed at the same time as you would go to bed at home.

  • When you have adapted to the local time zone, pay attention to your ‘rhythm’. Rhythm is not about what you do during the day or in which order you do things, it is about how you are with yourself and in which quality you do things. When you have a sense of connection to yourself and to your body, your body will tell you all the time when to rest, when to work and how many little breaks you need during the day. For example, at work you realise in between your body is tired and it is time for a break. What do you do? One possibility is, instead of having a coffee, you could go for a little walk or you close your eyes for 5 minutes. This can help the body a lot to rejuvenate. The disadvantage of having a coffee is – although it seemingly gives you energy for the moment – it can create a lot of nervous energy in the body, leaving the body unsettled. Once the nervous tension in the body increases, the quality of one’s work and the connection too will suffer.

  • From the moment you arrive make the hotel room your ‘home away from home’ for the time you are there. This can look like putting your clothes away in the cupboards and not living out of your suitcase, reorganising the furniture – any change that supports to establish a space where you love to come back to.

  • Business dinners are important, but be sensitive about what you eat and drink and the duration of the dinner as these can add stress to the body.

  • Choose some gentle exercise that you can do every day in your hotel room or go for a walk and enjoy the movements of your body. This is vital, because sitting for many hours can be very draining for the body, especially if we don’t pay attention to our posture.

  • If you are on a certain diet due to an illness or you have decided not to eat certain ingredients like gluten, it is worthwhile to cook your own meal, which you can take with you on the plane. The advantage is – you are not dependent on what the airline is serving and you can eat whenever you like.

  • Additionally, instead of using a hotel room as accommodation, you could choose a serviced apartment with a kitchen where you can cook your own meals.

  • Despite all the time pressure and the goal to get the job done, make sure that you have a long enough pause/break in between meetings, even if it’s just five minutes to stretch your legs and go for a short walk and some fresh air.

  • Finally – use the spare moments you have, like going from A to B, to connect to your body with tools like the Gentle Breath Meditation®.

On business trips we often tend to focus on ‘getting the job done’ and in the process, one neglects everything one normally does to support oneself. If we take simple steps to self-care, the benefits to one's wellbeing will be tenfold, allowing the body to maintain strength and vitality, no matter how often one is called to go on business trips.

Filed under

BurnoutStressTime managementWork life balanceBody awareness

  • By Alexander Gensler, Business Consultant

    Alexander, a versatile consultant – knows not only the business world, working as a business consultant for over 20 years, but also providing counselling sessions where he supports people to live their potential.

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    To sketch, paint and question life. To cook, laugh and wonder why. To hug, hum and appreciate the sky, to look into another's eyes. These are some of the reasons Joseph loves life and is inspired to contribute to this amazing site.