Recently I travelled to Hong Kong and back in 3 days to deliver two presentations at a Leadership conference. My schedule for the week was somewhat challenging: presenting on Monday in Coventry, flying out to HK on Tuesday, landing on Wednesday and presenting in the afternoon, flying out on Thursday morning and presenting in the City on Friday. I knew that I’d need every trick in the book if I was going to make it to the weekend with good energy for the best part of my life. I love my work but it’s not the best part of my life – don’t you agree? But so often we give everything to our clients, our inbox, endless meetings and demands and then – we have nothing left for ourselves and loved ones. I was determined not to deplete myself and when the weekend arrived, I was feeling good.
Here are some of the tricks I used to manage the travel:
1. ADOPT THE ‘MARS BAR PRINCIPLE’
This is the principle of ‘work, rest and play’ – remember the advert for the chocolate bar? Avoid just sitting and watching or surfing the in-flight entertainment. Plan your entertainment and take regular movement breaks while watching and in between programmes. Many flights have wifi these days but you should avoid watching more than one screen at a time. If you have to work, do so then take a break and reward yourself with a movement break and stretching followed by watching a film. The aim is to be very conscious about when you are working, switching off with some entertainment or reading or getting some quality rest.
2. THINK ‘REST’ RATHER THAN ‘SLEEP’
Abolish the word ‘sleep’ from your vocabulary. You could potentially recoup more energy by resting well rather than trying to sleep. Think more in terms of rest rather than sleeping. Use the in-flight guided meditations to help you rest and balance your energy.
3. MEDITATE ON TAKE OFF AND LANDING
Close your eyes, focus on your breathing while mentally and softly repeating the words IN and OUT. Do this for 10-20 minutes on take-off and landing to calm any jitters but also to help to balance out your energy. With your eyes closed you can also visualise or imagine roots coming out from your feet and sending them down to the centre of the earth. This is very grounding and can help to minimise the destabilising effect of flying.
4. STAND AND PUT ROOTS DOWN
Related to the above, get up and move. Find some space where you can stand with your feet about hip width apart and breathe deeply. On the exhalation imagine sending roots out through your feet and to the earth’s centre.
5. AVOID CLOCK WATCHING
If you’re feeling anxious about whether or not you’re sleeping, use the rest principle described above and avoid constantly checking how much time you have left until landing. Also avoid measuring how much sleep you’ve had and definitely avoid using a ‘smart’ wristband device to monitor your sleep pattern
6. ESSENTIAL OILS – LAVENDER AND EUCALYPTUS OILS
Travel with small bottles of essential oils such as lavender (to aid rest) or eucalyptus (to help breathing and clear stuffy nose and head). Sprinkle this around your space and allow yourself to bathe and rest in the scent.
7. POSITIVE MENTAL ATTITUDE
If you’re getting agitated by having to sit for so long or frustrated by delays, try to stay positive. Think about how busy you might have been before you got on the plane or how busy you might be when you land and value the time to rest and be looked after. Smile and think grateful thoughts.