You are travelling on business, to a congress, conference, meeting? Short trips job-wise? These days in one place, next day in another? You want—you must—stay healthy during the business trips?
In the past you regularly fells sick during or after a journey with a cold or some other infect?
Then this post is for you.
Note: This post is the English version of my post 15 Tipps für Gesundheit auf Geschäftsreisen.
On my trips in the last couple of years I installed 15 habits that help me staying sane and healthy. While adhering to these practices is no guarantee, it greatly increases the likelihood of staying in good shape.
- After shaking hands care what you do with your hand. Do not tap into your face, do not eat from the buffet, do not clean your nose. Better directly…
- Wash hands. Much more often than at home. Exactly because we shake hands with more people. Just don’t obsess about. If you see the washing rooms at the end of the break, it should be enough.
- Eat healthy. Prevent side dishes and dishes like bread, noodles, hot dish and so on, and substitute with vegetables, fish and meat. Really. This is business, not leisure.
- Modest alcohol consumption leaves your immune system a chance. Abstinence is not required, but too much alcohol does not add to the resistance of the immune system. Nothing against a drink or two with colleagues, but again: this is work, not leisure.
- Get out of the door. Sunlight and fresh air help your body and your immune system. Might have to do with vitamin D, biologists know better. Additionally, fresh air is better than dried air that went through long pipes.
- Exercise and sports explicitly exercise by running, gymnastics or weights. I personally prefer running outside, independent of weather—see previous point—because I can’t stand the treadmill. If no fitness room is available or a running trail around the hotel is difficult, you can also…
- Take the stairs. At a congress or company event, How often do you take the elevator between your room and meeting venues? Take the stairs instead. It’s fitness for free, and can be quicker than waiting for the elevator to come.Specifically in the US I sometimes have to look for the stairways explicitly, but it’s the first thing I do. Hint: If you cannot find the stairs in the lobby, start at your hotel room’s floor. On entering the staircase, verify that the door knob can be opened from outside so you can re-enter. Many older stairways are only set for escaping down, with no possibility to enter the floors. Another hint: Often you will end in staff areas on lobby level. Smile and memorize the way for later. In some hotels the stairway is only accessible starting second floor.
- Cover your neck, especially in air-conditioned rooms. We Europeans are not used to the climate conditions in US american venues. Keep your throat safe. Check where the air stream comes from, and re-seat accordingly. I often wear my thin turtle neck.
- Stand up in meeting rooms and stay standing for a while. It energizes your bloodstream and is good for your back. You may feel weird if you are the first one doing this. After that it becomes easier, because you will become a trend setter..
- Drink lots of still water. Air condition dehydrate you. This loss of fluid you have to compensate, best not with lemonade and soda, but with water. If you stay with still water instead of sparkling water, your stomach will not work against you after the break.
- Green tea, herbal tea or camomile tea instead of coffee. Coffee dehydrate. Green, herbal or camomile tea is better for your body. Green tea additionally has these antioxidants that—according to meds—do amazing things with your body.
- Skip the Danish pastry. Often in breaks you get puff pastry with sugar coat in various forms. This is pure fat and sugar, and for sure not good for your health in such exposed context as a business trip. Stay with fresh fruit.
- Sneeze and cough in your crook of the arm instead of your hands. This not just helps yourself, but all others, too. Sneezing or coughing in your hands contaminates them. See also the first tip on washing hands. The arm crook is a place you do not need for anything else. And if you become a trend setter with this, everybody benefits.
- Go to bed on time. This is the hardest one for me. But every additional hour of sleep strengthens your immune system, and every lacking hour weakens it. Often it takes just one in the group to leave for the party to break up.
- Wash hands again. Often a hand sanitizer stand near the sink in the men’s and ladies‘ rooms. Use the hand sanitizer as long as your hands do not get dry and rough from it, since rough hands allow for easier infection. In this case, use additional hand lotion.
While this list is neither perfect nor exhaustive, and not any guarantee, it will help you increasing the likelihood of getting through the event and home in a good condition.
What are you doing to stay healthy during business trips?
Please let the other readers as well as me take part in your thoughts and share!
Also published on Medium.