Taking care of your body in flight.
Most recently a trip to the other side of the world from the UK has brought my awareness to the extra care needed to the vessel we travel in. Not the plane, train, boat or car but our own body that is dragged between time zones and demanded to adjust to the new environment it arrives in.
As a traveller and dance movement psychotherapist I offer the following recommendations to support your body in transit:
- Take a small bottle of lavender oil and sprinkle it on clothes or your seat to aid your body’s relaxation and sleep. Don’t be worried about others next to you just explain what this essential oil supports and they will be asking you to borrow it!
- If you are travelling long haul, give your body a ‘bedtime’ routine. Brush your teeth, take wipes to wash your face and snuggle into your seat. In economy you won’t necessarily get an eye mask but ask, they always have spare from business and if all else fails whip on your sunglasses.Blocking out any artificial light will help your body shut down and enter sleep mode.
- Hydrate hydrate hydrate! Not just orally but your skin also. Before a trip visit a local department store and ask for samples of their face moisturisers pack these in your hand language for the trip.
- If travelling in summer we often travel in flip flops or sandals. Take a pair of socks in your bag to slip on during your flight. By keeping your feet warm your will regulate your whole body temperature, ideal for sleep and general comfort.
- ‘Seat sleeping’ is an art, no doubt about it, find space for stretching between. I found myself doing some gentle yoga in the aisles to re set my bones/muscles and felt refreshed after.
- Try not to stare at the screen for the whole flight. Those inflight movies are tempting but a 7hour or 13 hour flight of non stop pixel exposure is going to dry out your eyes.
- On arrival pause for a moment in your new environment and breath, connect to your destination’s rhythm through breath. Notice where you have come from, where you are and where you want to go, one step at a time.
I am mindful to respect the true culture of the new places I visit and often steer clear of the tourist hoards and ‘must see’ selfie provoking sites. Instead I find myself chatting to the bar staff, the shop assistant, the taxi driver and finding out where the places are that they are drawn to. They know their home better than any travel agent, website, or travel blogger and yet seek no payment for their recommendation only the knowledge that something sacred has been appreciated and shared out of human connection. For this reason I won’t list my ‘must dos’ from my recent trip but rather encourage you to be curious, to explore and connect with locals on your way, knowing that you will end up where you, as an individual,are meant to be.
Safe travels, where ever they make take you.