Woooof, escapaders! It’s no surprise that routines coincide with a healthy lifestyle; not having a routine for an extended period of time may take a toll on your health because humans (just like us dogs) function better with structure in place. Nonetheless, taking an occasional break from your “daily grind” is healthy as well; hence, that’s why you travel – to break away from your “daily grind.” While it’s perfectly fine to break away from your normal routine for a few weeks a couple times a year, it is a different story when you’re on the road for well over a month or two or even longer; when traveling for months or even years on end, it is crucial that you establish some sort of a routine even though you may be crossing various time zones and heading to the train station or airport every few weeks. Here are 6 easy breezy ways to establish a routine no matter where you are traveling in the world:
- SET A (rough) SLEEPING SCHEDULE. Okay, we all know this one may be a challenge if you are physically traveling at night or in the morning. Well, do what you can on your non-travel days or days without commitment! Set a one-hour window as to when you want to sleep and wake up every day and STICK TO IT; just don’t get too ambitious and set your timeframe too early, say 10-11 pm when you know you’re big on nightlife. Be realistic and allow yourself a generous window of 8-9 hours of actual sleep.
- EAT YOUR BREAKFAST BEFORE HEADING OUT. Sit down, drink a glass of water (or juice), and eat some breakfast at your hotel before leaving for the day. Make that a vital part of your day instead of eating on the go or scrambling for a place to eat for your first meal. You’ll feel energized instantaneously to have the most important meal of the day out of the way. Whether you choose to purchase food the night before or enjoy your hotel breakfast buffet, you should eat something before starting your day.
- SET A DAILY GOAL FOR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY. Movement is LIFE! It’s a blessing to be able-bodied so use it to your advantage. Keep moving every chance you get. Have a minimum in mind, whether it is distance or time. Decide on a realistic daily goal, e.g. 7 miles of combined walking + running or 10,000 steps (equivalent to 5 miles) or 1.5 hours total of brisk walking or 20 minutes of running or jogging, etc. Use a Health app on your smartphone or Fitbit or any type of physical activity tracking app/device to track your progress. People often think that it’s difficult to incorporate exercise while traveling, but in reality, it’s even easier; for one, WALK everywhere to explore and only resort to public or private transportation when the destination is too far for walking. And, no – 1 or 2 or even 3 miles is not too far to walk to unless you’re hauling heavy luggage or suffering in extreme heat or heavy rain/snow. For destinations that are 3-7 miles, think about splitting the route with a meal or drink or dessert (earn your treats!) break halfway in between. Plan your route accordingly! Met your goal? Keep moving and go for extra mile!
- EAT YOUR MEALS AT (roughly) THE SAME TIME. Yep, you’re out exploring during the day and your adventures make your agenda totally unpredictable, which is all part of traveling – we want to be spontaneous! It’s quite common to end up eating lunch late in the afternoon after a long day at the museum, and consequently, your dinner schedule is pushed back. You certainly don’t want to take the spontaneity out of traveling, but at the same time, you should also have an idea of when your lunch and dinner times will be. Try your best to combine a walking/exploring and eating schedule; for example, roam for 3-4 hours after breakfast and have lunch from 12-2 pm, then roam for another 4-5 hours and have dinner 6-8 pm, and then enjoy a post-dinner for 30 minutes to an hour before heading back to the hotel. Try to be as consistent as possible on a daily basis, even on travel days.
- EXERCISE BEFORE HEADING OUT FOR THE DAY. It’s fabulous if you can take a quick run/jog/walk or even hit the gym in the morning before breakfast; unfortunately, there may be a battle for time, time, AND time. Alternatively, give yourself a quick morning stretch and a few minutes of jumping jacks to get that heart bumping so you can prepare for the day. Even doing basic stretches, such as rolling your shoulders and neck, and doing a forward and backward bend along with 1-2 minutes of jumping jacks will suffice. The idea is to warm up your body for the day, whether you are preparing for a long day of travel or exploration or just purely relaxation.
- SET A SCHEDULE FOR WORK, EMAILS, AND SOCIAL MEDIA. There IS a time and place for everything. Don’t ruin your time abroad by constantly working or checking emails and social media; rather, set aside times for work and “internet activity.” This is a huge challenge in today’s society when we are just glued to our easily accessible gadgets that connect us to the rest of the world at any given time and place. Start out by deciding on the amount of time you want to spend on each task and then set the times throughout the day as to when you want to perform these tasks. For instance, let’s say you want to spend an hour maximum on social media per day: you can break it down into 4 increments of 15 minutes: 1) 15 minutes at 9 am, 2) 15 minutes at 1 pm, 3) 15 minutes at 5 pm, and 4) 15 minutes at 9 pm. Do the same for work and emails. Nevertheless, if you are able to set aside increments of time to work and check emails/social media, then you will be much more productive and again, any routine that you can incorporate while traveling will make you healthier.
Hope you keep up with a healthy routine while traveling! Feel free to share your own tip in the comment section below! Want more healthy travel tips? Check out 16 ways to stay healthy on the road!
Markin’ it up,
Roger Wellington a.k.a. The Doob