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12 Sure-Fire Ways to Beat Jet Lag

12 Sure-Fire Ways to Beat Jet Lag

The world we live in is getting smaller, with more and more people travelling by air than ever before. If you’ve ever travelled long haul, you’ll know one of the major downsides to jet setting is the groggy, half-awake feeling that can ruin your first few days upon arrival, and set you back a day or two when you get back home. But what can be done? Here are 12 of the top tips and tricks that help frequent fliers beat the jet-lag blur.

Plan Ahead

1. Trick your body clock

If you know your dates of travel some days in advance, try to shift your sleep schedule ahead or behind by a few hours, depending on your destination. If you’re travelling east, go to bed a little earlier, even if you don’t sleep. If you’re travelling west, resist going to bed for a little longer. Even an hour’s adjustment can make the difference between falling asleep in the middle of dinner or feeling a bit drowsy by the end of drinks.

2. Adapt your diet

Digestion requires a lot of energy, so eating a heavy meal can tire you out when you’re body is already trying to cope with keeping itself awake. When professional athletes travel internationally to compete in global events, they follow a strict diet that alternates vegetarian, lean protein and fasting in the days leading up to their departure. This ensures that they are fit and ready to perform as soon as they arrive at their destination.

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On Board

3. Skip the in-flight meal

This will come as good news to food purists everywhere: don’t eat anything on board. Food plays a key role in the regulation of our circadian rhythm: our bodies know what time of day it is in relation to the meals we eat. By holding off on the food until the next local mealtime, your body will more quickly adjust to the local time. If you arrive mid-afternoon or morning and absolutely must eat, grab a quick snack but don’t sit down for a big meal unless it’s time for that at your destination.

4. Stay Hydrated.

Although not eating might prove beneficial, don’t skimp on the drink! The air on board is very treated, and very drying, so it’s important that you drink at least double the amount of fluids you would when on the ground. Some theories suggest that a large number of the symptoms of jet-lag are merely signs of dehydration (e.g. nausea, fatigue, pallor etc.) Water is generally best, although herbal teas are also very hydrating. Stay away from fizzy drinks, sugar-laden juices and alcohol, which has a more drastic effect on-board due to altitude and air pressure.

5. Move around.

Until I became a frequent flier, I firmly believed that moving around the cabin was a nuisance to the already busy and overworked cabin crew. Newsflash: it’s not! It’s very much recommended. To avoid the feeling of heaviness in your legs, improve circulation and just generally feel more refreshed, try get up and walk around every couple of hours or so. If the plane is packed, or you are uncomfortable, try some simple stretches in your seat. And don’t stay in the same position for too long, unless you’re sleeping of course!

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6. Stay active.

If you can, try to engage in some sort of stimulating activity for at least part of the flight. Read a book, do a Sudoku or crossword, get some work done on that big project you’ve got coming up. Chat to your neighbor, if you’re so inclined. Watching films for 12 hours on that tiny screen will only leave your body and mind feeling sluggish upon arrival.

7. Switch to local time

Mid-flight or as soon as you get on board, set your watch to the local time at destination. You can do the same with your gadgets if they do not automatically update upon arrival. This will get you into the local time mindset, and help you plan your activities at destination more efficiently.

8. Sleep at local time

This can be tough once the cabin crew have dimmed the cabin lights and covered you in a toasty blanket, but it really works. Work out your ideal bedtime at destination, and whatever is going on on-board at that time, try at least to take a nap. This is your body’s first introduction to its new time zone. If you can’t manage to fall asleep, putting on a mask and some earplugs can help you to at least tune out the noise and get some rest.

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9. Wake up at local time

Same idea as above, but could prove just as difficult. Here’s a neat trick to perking yourself up when you’re feeling drowsy: Brush your teeth with strong, minty toothpaste and cold water (ask for a bottle as airplane tap water is full of germs), and change your socks. For some reason, doing this makes your brain think that it’s starting a new day. Add to that tying your hair back tightly if you have long hair, and splashing your face with cold water.

At Destination

10. Don’t nap!

Resist! Resist! Resist! Be strong! If you really are walking into walls and have a full day ahead of you, then limit your nap time. Airline pilots who land in the early hours of the morning often limit their naps to a couple of hours – just enough to keep them going for the rest of the day. Sleeping any more than this can make you feel majorly groggy and out of place.

11. Get moving!

Get outside, expose yourself to natural sunlight, fresh air and a stimulating environment. Do some light exercise like going for a walk or doing some stretches. Talk to people, watch or read something funny to make you laugh or just generally do something stimulating that you enjoy.

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12. When in rome…

…eat when the Romans do. Resist the urge to eat a full meal when it isn’t the correct local time. By all means snack if you must, and drink plenty of water, but try force yourself into the eating schedule of your destination. Your body will have an easier time adapting to its new environment with mealtimes as a point of reference.

With a little planning and a little more willpower, jet-lag can be a thing of the past!

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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