Stress-Free Holiday Travel Tips
Long delays and canceled flights… traffic jams… inclement weather… crowds… wrangling little ones…. all these factors and more can make traveling during the holiday season stressful. Yet, getting together with friends and family is a big part of what makes the season so special.
Is it possible to travel stress-free? Once we understand what imbalances are caused by travel, we can take steps to protect ourselves and prevent them from developing.
Imbalances Caused by Travel
Vata dosha in general tends to get disturbed during travel. In particular, continuous sitting disturbs Apana Vata, which controls the downward movements of elimination and purification. Traveling in fast-moving vehicles and an unpredictable routine aggravate Prana Vata, which controls mental and emotional balance. Pachaka Pitta, responsible for digestion, can also get disrupted by an irregular schedule of meals and sleep.
Steps to Stay Balanced
Maintain physical, mental and emotional equilibrium through travel and hectic times with these ayurvedic tips:
The Week Before Travel
Be meticulous about adhering to a regular routine. Taking pains to keep Vata in balance before travel can help us withstand stress, time pressure, multiple demands and unpredictability.
Consume Vata and Pitta-pacifying meals
Steer clear of extremely sour foods such as pickles and vinegar, and very spicy foods such as cayenne or hot chili peppers, which can aggravate both Vata and Pitta. Consume plenty of sweet juicy fruits, warm milk blended with Organic Rose Petal Spread, and light proteins such as mung beans. Our body loves a routine. Eat meals at about the same time each day, with lunch being around noon and dinner about three hours before bed.
Stay hydrated. Travel, especially on planes, can tend to dehydrate us. When our body is dehydrated, it works much less efficiently. So drink lots of warm or room-temperature water.
Daily Abhyanga with Moisturizing Herbal Massage Oil
Abhyanga, warm oil self-massage, can go a long way toward soothing the entire nervous system and emotions. This powerful tool, before or after a shower, has healing qualities: increased circulation, stimulation of nerve endings, and removal of toxins from the body. After the oil is applied, it's best to wait 10-15 minutes for it to penetrate. If you don’t have this much time, it’s OK to jump into the shower. We can keep our bodies flexible and supple, and maintain our energy levels to prepare for travel, with this daily practice.
A scalp-and-head massage during the week can be very helpful for stress relief. If easy, try to get one in a few times each week. Choose from our variety of vpk® massage oils formulated for dosha balancing. Gently warm a couple of teaspoons of the oil. Those with longer hair may need more, to cover all the hair as well as the scalp. The oil should be warm enough to be soothing, but not uncomfortably hot. Pour the oil on your palm and apply it evenly all over the scalp and the back of the neck close to the hairline. Using your fingertips, gently massage the oil into the scalp, working the oil in for about 4-5 minutes. If possible, the oil should be left on overnight (use a shower cap to protect your bed-linens) and shampooed off the next morning. If leaving it on overnight is impractical for you, leave it on for 2-3 hours, then shampoo your hair well to rinse it off.*
Enhance Vitality with Rasayanas
What, exactly, is a Rasayana? Rasayanas are specifically prescribed ayurvedic formulations for health. Ayurveda tells us that a Rasayana is “that which negates old age and disease.”
Rasayanas have the ability to boost natural immunity and increase resilience from day-to-day stress. So, before traveling through busy airports and public spaces, we can prepare our bodies by boosting our natural immunity.
Travel essentials kits:
- Worry Free tablets, Organic Vata Tea, Organic Digest Tone (Triphala Plus), and Calming Vata Aroma Oil (for those who tend to worry or feel spacey when traveling or under pressure).
- Stress Free Emotions, Organic Vata Tea, Organic Digest Tone (Triphala Plus), and Blissful Heart Aroma Oil (for those who tend toward anger when under pressure).
No need for an aroma diffuser — just place a drop of the aroma that smells the best on a Kleenex and place it next to your bed or keep it in your pocket.
The build-up of toxic matter (ama) in the physiology is what leads to imbalance. Flushing the system with regularity can help remove ama. Experience occasional constipation, especially when traveling? Try Organic Digest Tone (Triphala Plus) or Herbal Di-Gest if digestion is off balance. Promote regular elimination by eating boiled or baked apples or pears for breakfast.
Have a Cup of Tea
Organic Vata Tea and Worry Free Tea are warm soothers for Vata-related imbalances, especially while traveling. Drink individually before or during a flight, or grab a travel cup to take on the road. Or combine a tea bag of each into one cup of warm water for a powerful pre-flight beverage! Warm drinks can aid the digestive system and are Vata balancing. It’s best to avoid carbonated or ice-cold beverages, as they increase Vata and can, depending on your system, disrupt digestion.
Eat well-cooked, freshly-prepared foods. Ayurveda advises that bioavailability of cooked foods is greater than that of harder-to-digest raw foods. One exception to this is fresh fruit. Avoid "junk" foods or heavy, hard-to-digest foods when possible. Often the food we find while on the road or in busy airports is anything but healthy. So, eating clean while traveling may take some planning ahead. Roast nuts with one of our Churnas (ayurvedic spice mixtures), or better yet, pack a churna and take it with you to sprinkle on veggies or even popcorn. Pack fresh fruits such as figs, oranges, cherries, or raisins for a quick, healthy travel snack.
While traveling, carry a handkerchief, cotton ball, or tissue soaked with a drop or two of our dosha-balancing essential oil formulas and enjoy the aroma throughout the day.
After the time spent in the air or on the road, drink lots of warm water throughout the day to replenish moisture levels and assist in cleansing the channels of the body. Eat light yet nourishing foods such as mung beans to allow digestion to regulate. Continue to enjoy Organic Vata Tea or Worry Free Tea.
When we travel, we’re often sitting for long periods of time and sometimes in cramped spaces. If easy, soothe and relax, and enhance circulation, with abhyanga.
Finally, Catch Up on Rest
Traveling can be a delightful break from the day-to-day routine, and a wonderful way to catch up with loved ones during the holidays. However, we know that it can also be exhausting! If we listen to our bodies, and give ourselves the time and space to rest and recoup, we’ll bounce back from all of the travel… just in time for the New Year!
*Please note that, because oil on towels or clothing can stain, these items should be washed alone. Important: Oily towels, if allowed to sit for long periods, can spontaneously combust and start a fire. It is recommended that these towels be washed alone and quickly.
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.