A guide to layover eating, exercise and rest.
Eating: Be sure to place your food in a fridge or fetch ice for your crew cooler as soon as you walk in the door, before kicking off your shoes and uniform. You don't want to forget and let your food spoil. If your room doesn't have a microwave, heat your food on your electric travel skillet. For easy clean-up, wash the skillet with soap brought in a travel shampoo container immediately after using it. Store the skillet in a plastic or cloth bag along with the soap and any utensils you brought.
When in your favorite foodie city, pack your own healthy version of your favorite food. For example, in Texas, pack your own BBQ, your own pizza when in Chicago or New York and your own chicken & waffles when in Georgia. Indulgence is a wonderful thing once in a while, but be weary of the weekly indulgences. You may find yourself in your favorite foodie city on a regular basis so bring your own version of your favorite food and save the real thing for a once-in-a-while treat. Your body and your wallet will thank you.
Exercise: Exercise is a crucial part of staying healthy as a crew member. It reduces stress, restores oxygen to the brain and strengthens the body to prevent injury at work. Keep your gym clothes at the top of your suitcase so you see them as soon as you open it. When possible, put those clothes on as soon as you get to your room and go straight to the gym. Whether it's an hour workout or a quick 20 minutes, get your body moving and stretched out first thing. Not only does this help relieve the stress of the day and prepare you for a good night of sleep, it ensures you get a workout in before the rest of your layover tempts you otherwise. If there is no gym at your hotel, it is closed for the night or you simply don't feel like going, pull out your travel yoga mat and stretch, do yoga or follow a workout video in your room through your phone or tablet. It's also a great habit to get into stretching on your yoga mat before heading back to work, to help prevent injury and get your blood and oxygen flowing throughout your body and to your brain.
Rest: When preparing for a good night of sleep away from home, begin by making sure your morning is taken care of. If you have an early wake-up, schedule a wake-up call, set your room alarm and set a couple of alarms on your phone. Knowing you have several back-ups relieves the stress of possibly oversleeping. Be sure your bag and uniform are ready to go so you have less to do in the morning. Next, shut and secure the window curtains. Chip clips work great for keeping the curtains together, reducing the amount of unwanted light. As you are preparing yourself for bed, rub 1-2 drops of lavender essential oil on your feet (preferably 30 minutes prior to sleep) and your pillow. For applying it to your pillow, place 1-2 drops in your hand, rub together and rub on the pillowcase. To help your body unwind, do a few stretches using your travel yoga mat. Take a few minutes to meditate on your day, releasing any negativity and embracing gratitude.
If you have a short night, start preparing for sleep as soon as you get to the hotel van by taking a natural supplement such as melatonin, cortisol manager (lowers the level of stress hormone in your brain) or doTERRA's Serenity Softgels. These safe, non-habit forming supplements don't knock you out but encourage restful sleep.
If at all possible, ignore the clock and stay on your home time zone. Your body benefits the most from sleep during it's regular circadian rhythm.
Download a white noise app on your phone or tablet and let it play as you sleep to drown out hotel noise.
Using a saline nose spray such as Xlear and/or a chest rub such as doTERRA Breathe Vapor Rub directly before bed can help keep your nasal passages clear and moist in dry hotel rooms. The better you breathe at night, the more oxygen flows to your brain and the higher the quality of sleep you receive.
Avoid turning on the TV when getting ready for sleep. Instead, pick up a good book to help you unwind and use the white noise app for comfort.
For post-red-eye sleep with a long layover, eat a light breakfast avoiding sugary carbs, follow the tips on preparing for sleep and rest for 3-4 hours. Try not to oversleep. When you get up, open the curtains to let in the sunlight, eat, exercise and get some fresh air. Stay awake until a normal bed time, then follow the steps again to prepare for a good night of sleep.