Business travel has seen a boost for those in the legal profession. While travel can sound exciting, the reality is that many lawyers struggle to maintain their wellness routines when they are on the road.

As a partner at a Chicago law firm and a holistic wellness coach, I am passionate about helping professionals establish healthy and harmonious lifestyles. I understand the travel demands that come with a high-performance job. When the American Bar Association (ABA) approached me to write a wellness article for the industry, the first thing that came to mind was how business travel can take a mental and physical toll.  

However, with some mindful pre-travel preparation and planning, it is possible to maintain nutrition and self-care habits. Here is a synopsis of healthy travel tips from the article. 

Plan to Plan Ahead

  • When booking your hotel, request a microwave and refrigerator to be in your room (if not already included). When you get to town, stock up on fresh food and fast, healthy meals.
  • Before you arrive, research grocery stores or grocery delivery options such as Instacart or Amazon/Whole Foods delivery services to stock your refrigerator.
  • Check out exercise options. Does the hotel have a gym? Or do they have reciprocal use of a nearby exercise facility? Is there a fitness studio where you can pre-book classes? If you’re going to be busy the entire time, pack some exercise bands or bookmark online workouts that you can do in your hotel room.

Prep for Travel Days

Whether you’re driving or flying, arm yourself with healthy snack choices to avoid temptations at coffee shops or convenience stores. Ideas:

  • Protein bars
  • Protein powder / powdered greens for a quick snack or meal, just add water or almond milk
  • String cheese, Greek yogurt, and/or hardboiled eggs
  • Hummus and vegetables

Dining Out

Inevitably you will have meals at restaurants during your business trip. Here are tips on how to make dining out a little bit healthier. 

  • Take a look at the menu beforehand and commit to a healthy meal choice before you arrive.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask your server for a different meal preparation (i.e., add more vegetables, take away mashed potatoes).
  • Eat half your portion and put your microwave to use to reheat the other half for a later meal.
  • Watch your alcohol intake. Stick to a two-drink maximum and consume one glass of water per alcoholic beverage.

Stress Management

Managing your stress can be pivotal to the success of your trip. Even small stress-relief breaks help! Here are stress management tips. 

  • Small stress relief break exercise for any time or place: 1-4-2 ratio breathing exercise. Inhale for 6 seconds, hold for 24 seconds and exhale for 12 seconds.

Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night to recharge your body and provide you with mental clarity for the next day. If you have trouble sleeping in a hotel room, try the following.

  • Avoid consuming caffeine or alcohol late in the day.
  • Sip on chamomile tea or other nighttime tea formulas before bed.
  • Lower the room temperature.
  • Use hotel blackout curtains if available.
  • Stream soothing music to fall asleep.
  • Plan ahead by speaking to your health professional about supplements such as melatonin, valerian, or CBD oil to help you fall asleep.

Plan some time for an enjoyable leisure activity – such as reading in the early morning, a quick meditation during the day, or enjoying a movie at night. If your schedule permits, book a relaxing massage.

Golden Rule: Something Is Better Than Nothing

On a business trip, it’s unrealistic to wholly replicate the wellness routine that you follow at home. However, remember that something is better than nothing instead of completely abandoning your wellness program. If you can’t get it all in, find ways to modify your routine to find the little wins here and there. 

This blog post summarizes an article for the American Bar Association (ABA) titled “Taking Your Wellness on the Road with You.” Read the entire article here. 

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