The holidays are upon us. Can you feel the stress yet? If you travel out of town for the holidays this is for you. Do you ever feel that you need a vacation from your vacation. This blog post is about full transparency and honestly because let’s face it traveling these days is a little different. I love to travel, but I don’t always love the way my body feels after being off my usual routine. Keep reading to learn all my tips and tricks to travel safely, maintain your immune system and still feeling your best.

It was 5 months ago when we decided to book a vacation. Hoping and praying we would still be able to travel. My husband and I had lots to celebrate, 10 years of marriage, my birthday and the 1 year anniversary of Elevation Health. The deals have been incredible and we hadn’t vacationed together for a whole week (that didn’t involve kids or work) since our honeymoon.

A few things you need to know in advance of traveling. Masks are mandatory for all air travel and everyone is wearing them, meaning it’s the cool thing to do. In fact masks are sold in so many places, they have become a fashion statement, matching outfits and personalities alike. Not wearing a mask in the airport or on the airplane is the fastest way to get kicked out. Since masks have become a fashion statement like scarfs, matching most outfits I’d like to encourage you to NOT use fashion masks during travel. The main reason is, you’re going to want to change them out frequently and possibly even throw them away. If you are using any sort of public transit (air, land or sea) I encourage you to purchase disposable surgical style masks and to take more than you think you need. For example, at the airport I wore a mask through check-in, security and then at the gate before getting on the airplane I changed masks, disposing of the used one. I changed masks again after getting off the plane and again when I arrived at our hotel. I knew I wouldn’t have a place to wash masks and felt it was safer to throw them away throughout the travel day. I’d encouraged you to do the same thing.

I was worried about security. Typically when I travel I wear pants with multiple pockets, shoes I can slip on and off (because I hate having to tie and untie shoes in security, it makes me frazzled and stresses me out) and I carry a back pack with everything strategically placed to make it convenient for me to access. However, there were a few differences this time around.

Shoes were left on and all electronics and liquids were left in my backpack. I did briefly have to lower my masks to verify my identify, but otherwise I was the only one handling my stuff. Well done TSA, well done. Immune support is important during any travel, but particularly now. I would recommend a few products that boost your immune system and protect yourself during travel (or any other time). DoTERRA OnGuard products are my go to travel immune support. According to the doTERRA blog, On Guard is one of doTERRA’s most popular essential oil blends due to its versatility and its ability to defend the immune system. I had with me On Guard Sanitizing mist, On Guard Touch roller ball (used on the back of my neck at various times throughout the flight) and On Guard Beadlets used in place of breath mints. One aspect of travel that brings on stress for me is motion sickness. I am prone to motion sickness especially during flights. I discovered Bonine while on a cruise 15 years ago and always have it with me when I travel. But in addition to Bonine I also keep Ginger essential oil handy. During our flight this time used 1 drop on the inside of my face covering. The two together did the trick and I had no problems the entire flight or car ride. Lastly, my roller ball of doTERRA adaptive helped create calm amongst the stress of travel.

Oil travel bag

Another big thing that people get wrong during travel is hydration. Most adults on a normal day walk around a little dehydrated add travel to that, being off schedule, eating out which contains more sodium/salt than usual, extra caffeine and or alcoholic beverages and dehydration is worsened. I always travel with a water bottle. Either a reusable or a plastic one that can emptied before going through security and then refilled on the other side of security. During my most recent travel I had discovered a new product called Liquid I.V.. Liquid I.V. is exactly like it sounds, a hydration powder that is mixed with water mimicking the nutrition of IV hydration. One bottle of water with Liquid I.V. is the equivalent hydration of drinking three bottles of water. I used one pack of liquid I.V. in my water every day to help with staying hydrated. A special note about this product, it is a great source of electrolytes which means it does have a decent amount of sodium in it. If you have been diagnosed with Hypertension (high blood pressure) I would not recommend this on a regular basis, unless dealing with some kind of sickness causing dehydration.

Warning, I’m about to get personal…

Gut-lag. This was a new term to me, but the symptoms are like old friends. If you’re like me, traveling whether by car, plane or train; especially when crossing time zones; wrecks havoc on my gut microbiome. Gut-lag doesn’t just cause changes in bathroom habits such as diarrhea or constipation; it can cause changes in your metabolism, detoxification pathways and in fact can cause in increase in sugar cravings. Most of these things are actually related to Jet-lag caused by disruption of circadian rhythms. But gut dysbiosis can also be cause be drinking unclean water or eating unfamiliar foods with new flavors and spices.

SO, how do we prevent it and/or fix it.

  1. Stay on schedule as much as possible. Especially as it relates to sleep and meal times. Work to eat meals at the times you typical do and if you have to wake up extra early or go to bed extra late, make every effort to get your sleep back into regular habits. If you take a nap, only take a short <30 minute nap. You want to nap just long enough to rejuvenate yourself, but not so long that it messes up your night time sleep.
  2. Take a probiotic. A high quality probiotic can help to maintain a healthy balanced gut microbiome. We love spore based (also called soil based) probiotics because of their ability to withstand the acid of the stomach and how they aid in population of the good bacteria in our gut while also weeding out the bad.
  3. Eat your fruits and veggies and drink your water. Limit your sugary foods and beverages and also alcohol.
  4. Exercise. Moving helps your mitochondria and it helps your gut bacteria stay in rhythm too.

You may be thinking, “this is supposed to be vacation and this seems like so much work”. If you’re not doing what I mentioned on a regular basis, then yes, it is going to seem like a lot of work. If your gut seems to be lagging without travel, stress and holidays then I would encourage you to consider making some lifestyle changes. The last thing to think about with travel and the holidays is the stress it can have on our body that you don’t even realize. According to the American Psychological Association stress affects the body in several ways. Here’s a few:

  1. When the body is stressed, muscles tense up. Muscle tension is almost a reflex reaction to stress—the body’s way of guarding against injury and pain. Stress and strong emotions can present with respiratory symptoms, such as shortness of breath and rapid breathing, as the airway between the nose and the lungs constricts.
  2. Acute stress—stress that is momentary or short-term such as meeting deadlines, being stuck in traffic or suddenly slamming on the brakes to avoid an accident—causes an increase in heart rate and stronger contractions of the heart muscle, with the stress hormones—adrenaline, noradrenaline, and cortisol—acting as messengers for these effects.
  3. When someone perceives a situation to be challenging, threatening, or uncontrollable, the brain initiates a cascade of events involving the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which is the primary driver of the endocrine stress response. This ultimately results in an increase in the production of steroid hormones called glucocorticoids, which include cortisol, often referred to as the “stress hormone”.
  4. Stress is associated with changes in gut bacteria which in turn can influence mood. Thus, the gut’s nerves and bacteria strongly influence the brain and vice versa.

Needless to say stress isn’t good for us and the holidays isn’t all gum drops and sugar plum fairies. At Elevation Health, PC we like to use Adaptogens to help the body manage the effects of stress on the body. Adaptogens are a select group of herbs (and some mushrooms) that support the body’s natural ability to deal with stress. They are called adaptogens because of their unique ability to “adapt” their function according to the specific needs of the body. This may be physical, chemical or biological needs. They can be consumed as food is or can be taken in supplement, tincture or powder form.

No matter what your plans for the holidays entail please remember your three W’s: Wear a mask, Wash your Hands, Wait 6ft apart. These are recommendations even for family gatherings. It’s hard knowing Thanksgiving and Christmas may look different this year. Take into consideration that many people may carry and spread the virus with no symptoms at all, potentially exposing elderly or immune compromised family members unknowingly.

Be safe. Stay Healthy. Have Fun.