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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 September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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