Creative entrepreneurs are no strangers to the pursuit of personal growth. If we don’t adapt to the constant changes in our industries, we fall behind. It’s a lot of pressure on us to get ahead at the expense of our own well-being. There’s an endless supply of information and advice out there on self-care practices, but a traveling entrepreneur has different needs than one who doesn’t have to leave home. Here we have some tips on making sure your needs are met when your work takes you on the road.
Please note: This is a contributed post, but all opinions are my own. View full disclosure policy.
Choose the Right Method of Travel
The traveling entrepreneur has many modes of transportation at their disposal. Each has its pros and cons, from cost to convenience. You might end up with a choice between flying or driving to your destination, and there’s a lot to consider when it comes to how both affect your well-being.
Depending on how far your travels take you, flying might drain your ability to focus. Jet lag, cramped seating, worry about overcrowded planes and airports, and sacrificed sleep to make an early flight can increase stress levels. If you’re unable to sleep on planes, make sure you block out time to decompress and recharge between arriving at your destination and getting to work.
If you choose to drive, you need to pay extra attention to how much sleep you get. Don’t push yourself to drive longer than you’re able to focus on driving safely. Leave room in your schedule to take breaks as you need them, or stop for the night when it gets too late to safely proceed. Driving while fatigued puts you and other drivers at serious risk. Should something unfortunate happen that requires you to seek legal help, you’ll definitely have even more stressors.
It’s important to factor in well-being and safety when deciding how to travel.
Focus on Getting Quality Sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep is the most important factor for the traveling entrepreneur to stay focused during their journey. Unfortunately, some people struggle to sleep in a strange place or a bed that doesn’t feel like home. Crossing into different time zones can cause even more problems for the weary entrepreneur. There are methods for conquering jet lag, like those on this podcast we will leave here. But the bottom line: quality sleep matters most, not quantity.
There are things you can do to help you fall asleep. For example, you can do light exercise like stretching or yoga. Some people benefit from adding aromatherapy sprays to their pillows (lavender is the most popular). Others reduce stimulation to their senses with sleep masks or earplugs. Some in the military rely on a practiced method to fall asleep quickly. Whatever helps you get a good night’s sleep, work it into your regular routine. That’s the best way to ensure you’re rested enough for travel.
Mind What’s on Your Plate
What you eat and when is no one’s business but yours. Some people have allergies and other dietary concerns to be mindful of. Not everyone has an easy relationship with food. The content here is for general informational purposes only.
While it’s fun to enjoy the local cuisine while out and about, there are two main ways eating while traveling can affect your well-being. First, some foods are more likely to make you feel sluggish. Things like fried food, added or artificial sugars/sweeteners, and anything heavily processed can negatively affect your mood. Second, unfamiliar dishes might contain ingredients your body isn’t used to. This can cause digestive issues or even make you sick (especially true for people who are prone to food-related illnesses, like me). It’s always a good idea to pay attention to what’s in the food you choose to eat.
Some people benefit from having two big meals a day, claiming it sustains their energy level throughout the day. Others benefit from eating small meals more often. In Japan, there is a practice known as Hara hachi bun me. The basic idea is to slow down and eat only until you feel 80% full. But at the end of the day, how and when you feed yourself is your choice.
Look for Networking and Interaction Opportunities
Human interaction is so important as we learn how to be better entrepreneurs. With so many of us working remotely, often as a team of one, solitude can take its toll on our mental well-being. If being a traveling entrepreneur takes you to an industry convention or market, strike up a conversation with others. Network with your fellow entrepreneurs. Forge connections and trade ideas.
If your travels take you on more of a solo adventure, you can still benefit from engaging in conversations with strangers you meet (someone at the check-in desk of your hotel, restaurant employees, baristas, etc.).
Stay Active (Within Reason)
Some people plan ahead for staying active on their travels, packing workout clothes and booking their stay at a hotel with a gym. That’s not for everyone. Some just pack good shoes and walk to as many places as they can. The rigors of travel can tire you out, so it’s important to not force yourself into more physical activity than you’re capable of.
If traveling means you’re doing more walking than usual, take a few minutes here and there to do some light stretches to take care of your muscles. Stretching can also help loosen up any stiffness from your flight or drive! Whether or not you want to work out, the least you should do is pack a reusable water bottle and watch your hydration level.
Final Thoughts for the Traveling Entrepreneur
Self-care isn’t just for when you’re at home. To thrive as a traveling entrepreneur, you need to protect your mental and emotional resources. Maintain your boundaries to protect your energy, listen to your body’s needs, and have a pleasant journey.