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Business travel stress-busters

Published: Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012 12:48 p.m. CDT

Business travel is, by definition, stressful. Delays may mean a missed meeting. Flights may be at odd hours. At the end of the work day, you don’t go home but to a hotel room. You can ease the stress of travel by adopting a healthy attitude and building personal time into your schedule.

The payoff for incorporating wellness in your travel plans includes improved physical well-being, mental alertness and better job performance.

The following suggestions can help reduce the stress of travel:

• Avoid connecting flights, peak travel times and busy airports. Take nonstop flights whenever possible to avoid layovers and decrease your chances of delayed or canceled flights.

• Schedule extra time to get there. Allow yourself plenty of time to rent a car, register for your hotel or conference, etc., in order to avoid the stress of rushing.

• Do a pre-trip workout. Exercise promotes circulation and helps to keep you alert. Remember to get up and move, whether you are on a plane, or on a break during a meeting.

• Adopt a healthy attitude. There’s no use worrying about things you can’t control, such as flight delays or canceled flights. Have a relaxing backup plan to fill your extra time.

• Practice deep breathing. Relax your abdominal muscles and take “belly” breaths, inhaling slowly and deeply into your abdomen and then your lungs.

• Take time for yourself. Plan ahead to see friends for dinner or lunch when traveling to a distant city. Read a book you enjoy instead of business briefs in the evening. Listen to music instead of sales tapes when driving.

• Survive your seat. To avoid back, neck and leg pain, practice dynamic sitting — a way of sitting that allows your bones, instead of your muscles and ligaments, to support your body. To sit this way: Slightly arch your lower back and distribute your weight evenly over your pelvic bones. Don’t cross your legs. Keep your shoulders and abdomen relaxed and slightly arch your neck.

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