Creating a vibrant culture of wellness in the workplace is a challenge in itself. But helping employees who travel frequently to stay well and make healthy choices on the road is a whole other ballgame.
Fortunately, there are ways you can encourage traveling employees to take better care of themselves. And if you're also a frequent traveler, you'll appreciate these tips for making healthy choices no matter how (or where) you travel.
Healthier air travel
If you're flying to a foreign country, it's a good idea to visit your doctor and catch up on your vaccines — as well as getting specific vaccines for the area you'll be visiting.
And for any trip, you may also wish to pack a health travel kit that includes any prescription or over-the counter medications you’ll need, plus basic first-aid supplies such as antibacterial wipes, hand sanitizer, and bandages.
Flyers are also often affected by jet lag, that temporary disorientation that happens when your body is in one time zone, but your brain thinks you’re in another. Forcing your body to function on a schedule that conflicts with its internal clock can cause serious symptoms: poor sleep, poor physical and mental performance, fatigue, headaches, irritability, lack of concentration, and gastrointestinal problems.
Travelers can reduce the effects of jet lag by preparing in advance. Start by adjusting your sleep hours a few days in advance. And be sure to get plenty of exercise and rest before your trip.
During your trip, avoid overeating and over indulgence in alcohol and caffeine. Drink lots of water, and eat meals at the appropriate local time. Take short naps to boost energy, but avoid long naps during the day so that you can sleep well at night. And try to spend some time in the sun during the day.
Eating healthier on road trips
Of course, air travel isn't the only kind of business trip fraught with potential health risks and challenges. Who doesn't immediately think of fast food and salty snacks when they hear the words "road trip”?
A little foresight can make the trip much healthier.
Not everyone enjoys road trips. If driving is stressful or tiring, be sure to get adequate sleep before the trip and take along some enjoyable or relaxing music to ease you through those traffic jams.
Regardless of how you travel, drink coffee, soda, and alcohol only in moderation. More than a cup or two of coffee while on the road can dehydrate you. Alcohol can also cause dehydration as well as fatigue and other symptoms.
Make traveling employees a part of the team
Make sure your road warriors enjoy the benefits of your workplace wellness culture. You can do that through creative means, such as challenging them to walk a certain number of steps per day while they’re gone. You can also send them a healthy breakfast on the day of a company meeting, or send them on a big business trip with a bag of healthy snacks.
Let your traveling employees know you care and encourage them to care for themselves while on the road.
Professional Health Services is here to help. Send all your health and wellness-related questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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