Clever ways to avoid travel stress

Image: Pixabay

Stress is a daily reality of the 21st century. South Africa’s major cities are renowned for their traffic congestion, which has been linked to depression. Load-shedding and electioneering can add to the feeling of being overloaded and overcrowded, and needing to travel for business can compound that.

As April is Stress Awareness Month, Kulula marketing head Shaun Pozyn has some suggestions on a more relaxing trip.

Workation

Combining work with a holiday can give you the benefits of time off while not falling behind on work and dreading all the mails piling up in your inbox.

Millions of people around the world work remotely using laptops and WiFi.

The trick to doing this while on holiday, says Pozyn, is to marshal the time you spend working.

“Rather than spending your holiday multitasking, spend a couple of hours focused on work and spend the rest of the time having a proper holiday, whether that’s outdoors or catching up on sleep and reading.

“You’ll get far more benefit from getting through a to-do list and then shutting down your laptop than from being half on holiday and half at work.

Some people find it helpful to arrange with colleagues and clients to be available online and via phone for a specific period each day, say from 9am until 11am.

Go offline

For those who’re able to do so, a total digital detox can be an enormous stress reliever and there’s a lot of evidence that the benefits can last a lot longer than the detox itself.

So, for example, if you’ve travelled to a two-day conference, you can take a day’s leave before flying home. After the conference, spend the day exploring the city and its surroundings, markets, galleries, or do a walking tour.

Mark Twain wrote that travel is “fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness”. It can also be very effective at cutting stress.

Work up a sweat

Physical exertion is a good antidote to the pressures of work and starting or ending the day with a workout, run, swim or fitness class will help clear your head of spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations.

Get some sunlight

There is a giant nuclear reactor in the sky and every hour it bombards Earth with more energy than humanity uses in a year.

While too much exposure to the sun can be harmful, too little can lead to a form of depression. In a sunny country such as SA though, a few minutes of exposure to sunlight will help your body produce Vitamin D, which is vital for healthy bones, boosts immunity and reduces the risk of diabetes.

Sunlight also enables your body to produce serotonin, which is associated with boosting one’s mood and helping you feel focused and calm.

Investigate mindfulness

Even the most hardnosed of captains of industry acknowledge that mindfulness meditation is a powerful tool for improving concentration and creativity and “decompressing” from stress.

One simple reason that it’s so effective is that you can’t do anything else while meditating.

It might be one of the few times in a day that you’re not multitasking which is a good way to “reset” your mind and tune out the clamour of the working environment.

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