Sick and on the road: A collection of tips for self-care
Today I'm sick.
I rested all of yesterday. The day before it started with a headache, yesterday it grew into aches, the headache got worse, and I started sneezing. I thought of two causes for this cold:
- The stress of travel is getting to me. or...
- Taking probiotics is confusing my immune system
It's probably a combination of both. I immediately felt better with the probiotics but I'd imagine my body needs to get used to them. I probably gave myself too much too fast.
Which leads me to Self Care while Traveling Tip #1:
If you're using probiotics to act as a buffer for gastrointestinal health (to guard against weird foods and help your body digest new things while traveling) introduce them to your body slowly the week before traveling to make sure you can handle it.
I should have taken them once every other day, then worked up to once every day.
Self Care while Traveling Tip #2:
Listen to your body and take a break if you need to.
Unless you have an appointment with the Dali Lama, which can never be rescheduled even though you're sneezing school busses out of your nose, TAKE A BREAK. Stop your plans for your day if you're feeling the headache come on, and rest. You'll thank yourself later.
It's easy to feel like you have to do it ALL RIGHT NOW when you're traveling. But sometimes your body can't take it. So listen to yourself and take breaks, so you don't have to test the healthcare system in the underdeveloped country you traveled to.
Self Care while Traveling Tip #3:
Adapt your morning and night routines to be road-compatible.
This may seem unrelated to health, but it's actually not. It's quite pertinent. When you're traveling to a new place, you will encounter new customs. And likely a new time zone. Mental health is extremely important to be able to adapt to the road and enjoy your travel experience.
DO step out of your comfort zone, but DON'T throw yourself into the abyss without an anchor. It's important to keep some sense of regularity, lest you become lost and disoriented with the odd culture and new time zone.
So do the same morning and night things you do at home - I brush my teeth, have a pushup/situp/plank/stretch routine, and meditate for 5 minutes before I sleep most nights. I can do this wherever I am. It keeps my body in reasonable shape, clears my mind, and makes me a bit tired so I fall asleep more easily. Find what works for you!
And the last but not least
Self-Care while Traveling Tip #4:
Make friends on the road.
If you make friends, you'll have people to hang out with and help you out if you're in trouble. I ended up not having a host for this past night and was checking the hostels nearby for a reasonable stay. I had met this calm, compassionate yogi woman at Whole Foods on the Lower East Side last Saturday, and asked her if she knew anyone I could stay with.
She was enthusiastic to house me herself! It was indispensable for me since I was sick these past couple days. It has been an unbelievable help to have a place to stay that's not a hostel.
Scroll down to the comments and share your experiences with being sick on the road! And how you cared for yourself. I'll reply to all the comments!