Various university studies have shown that employees who frequently travel for business rate their mental health the worst and often suffer from depression and anxiety.
This can be attributed to the additional stress that business travelers are exposed to while traveling. From long working hours, to reduced productivity, unhealthy eating and lack of sleep, as well as less time with friends and family.
Therefore, it is extremely important to take care of your mental health while on the go and establish habits and routines that help you feel good, rested and healthy. In this article we have put together some tips and tricks for you on how you can make business trips less stressful and more relaxing.
Taking care of mental health during pre-trip preparation
Plan and organize
Good business trips require good planning and organization. Before you travel, you should draw up a detailed travel plan that covers all steps. So you can start your business trips with a clear conscience.
You should also take the time to pack strategically. How many times have you lugged around several heavy suitcases only to actually need about 20% of the luggage? The solution here is to travel light! Shift the focus from the things you pack to the experiences you will have. The emphasis should be on mindfulness and quality over quantity!
More and more business travelers are combining their trips with leisure activities – so-called bleisure trips. This is a great way to reap the benefits of travel and a more sustainable choice than flying back to the same destination later for a leisure trip. This is a great way to relax and is particularly popular with Millennials, Generation X and Baby Boomers.
Maintain a healthy routine
In order to be able to take care of your mental health on business trips, it is extremely important to introduce and maintain healthy routines. One of the most important factors here is to get enough sleep. Try to maintain your sleep routine and get enough sleep so that you can start your meetings fresh and refreshed. Check out our article on how to beat jet lag on business trips.
At home, there is usually enough fresh food to eat to stay healthy not only physically but mentally too. But on business trips you often just eat what you like best. Of course, occasionally this isn’t a problem. But if you travel frequently for business, a poor diet can affect your weight, your mood, and your overall well-being.
Therefore, try to eat at restaurants that serve freshly prepared, healthy meals. Pack healthy snacks in between meals so you don’t get tempted. Regular exercise and sport can also help you feel healthy and fit on the go. Many hotels have fitness rooms or swimming pools, or you can even try taking a quick walk around the hotel in the evening.
To avoid additional stress on business trips, it is advisable to set realistic goals and deadlines that you can meet even on busy trips. Let your colleagues and superiors know that you will be on a business trip and delegate your responsibilities as much as possible.
It is important to give tasks a context so that the employees assigned to them really understand why they are given responsibility for certain tasks and how this can promote their personal development. You should also clearly define expectations, milestones and deadlines.
5 ways to manage mental health during the Trip
1. Stay connected
If you only go on business trips occasionally, this is usually not a problem. But frequent travelers often struggle to stay connected with their loved ones. Family members may feel abandoned and business travelers may feel guilt. These negative feelings can be exacerbated by long or distant travel and can cause personal distress.
In order not to affect your mental health, it is very important to maintain contact with friends and family even on business trips. Thanks to modern technology this has now become much easier. Video calls and chat messages can help your family feel connected to you, even if you have to travel for an extended period of time.
2. Create a comfortable travel environment
When traveling on business, it is important to create a cozy, pleasant and comfortable travel environment. Therefore, the choice of your accommodation, whether in a hotel or an apartment, is very important.
When choosing a hotel, the most important thing is the right location. Do you meet customers or suppliers at their business premises? Then the hotel should be close to the meeting location. Do you have to go to the airport early the next day? Maybe a hotel near the airport makes more sense in this case? Do you need to set up a trade fair stand and have a lot of materials with you? Then it’s best to book a room near the exhibition center.
When choosing a suitable hotel, comfortable extras should not be missing. A good breakfast with a varied selection ensures a good start to the day. And frequent travelers in your company will definitely be happy if there is a sauna or fitness studio available in the hotel.
Hotel amenities make all the difference when it comes to the comfort and satisfaction of your business travelers. If you use a hotel booking engine or a travel platform like GetGoing, you can specifically filter your searches to search for specific criteria.
3. Manage stress
Frequent travelers in particular can quickly feel stressed on business trips. You’ll be traveling from one location to another, navigating possible delays and plane or train cancellations, dealing with stressful exhibitions or complex situations while staying productive.
You should definitely use mindfulness and relaxation techniques when traveling on business in order to successfully cope with stressful situations. It only takes a few minutes every day to be able to tell whether business trips are a mental strain for you or whether you can cope well with the stress of travel.
Use your travel time to relax, read a good book or pursue various hobbies. This is time for you to spend on your interests to unburden yourself mentally.
4. Stay active
Make sure you have enough time to stay active on business trips. Various studies show that physical activity can help promote mental health. In addition, you strengthen your immune system through regular exercise and thus reduce the likelihood of getting sick on business trips.
Book a hotel with a gym or pool so you can stay active. Or choose a location that has a park nearby so you can go jogging. A healthy diet also contributes significantly to your well-being. On business trips, it’s worth packing healthy snacks for when you’re hungry, such as nuts or fresh fruit.
5. Seek social interaction and engage in cultural activities
It is very important for frequent travelers not to isolate themselves on their many business trips, but rather to seek out social interactions. Stay in touch with colleagues and other travelers and take advantage of local networking opportunities. There are also online communities for business travelers so you don’t feel so alone while traveling and can make the most of your travels.
Use your business trips to pursue cultural experiences in other countries. Try out the regional cuisine or take part in cultural events. Dare to have new experiences and combine business with leisure – for a true Bleisure experience.
And that’s how to improve mental health!
As you have already seen above, it is extremely important to take care of your mental health while traveling for business. The long-term benefits of a balanced approach to work and physical and mental well-being simply outweigh the negatives. Mindfulness and relaxation exercises can also help you promote your mental health. Share this post with other business travelers to apply these strategies for a better mental state on the go.