Travel takes energy, fitness, and good health. Which is why looking after yourself is really important. We owe it to ourselves to keep fit and healthy for travel.
I generally don't have fears - because I don't like to focus on negatives - but if there is one thing that always catches me, is if I get an injury or a twinge, and I think, "Will this impact on my travel?"
As I've hit the 50's I'm noticing that I don't bounce back as quickly as when I was younger. But then having said that, I also used to ignore things and wait for them to right themselves. Whereas now I'm a lot faster acting with either getting treatment, taking a remedy, and behaving proactively.
Tea with a friend - is there any better way to spend time?
Taking the time for self-care.
We all have different ways of self-care that work for us. And we often require more than one way.
My personal favourites are a massage, doing Tai Chi, going for a walk in nature, sitting on the beach, and having a cuppa with a friend (more recently Zoom cuppas!)
Today I went to a friend who has an Ayurvedic spa for a very indulgent massage. It was bliss. I could have been at any spa in the world. If you're in Hamilton, New Zealand you can check out Rachna's spa AyuSpa. Rachna's treatments are jus divine, and you leave feeling utterly pampered.
Small joys - Rachna's flower display at AyuSpa.
Keeping strong and fit for travel.
Depending what season it is where you are reading this, you might just give me an eye-roll if I mention heading out for a walk to keep up your travel fitness. I know in Australia, the summer temperatures are warming up and early morning walks are the best option.
In the Northern hemisphere you'll be wrapping up warm to beat the elements outside. Here in New Zealand, we're a bit of everything - they don't say, "four seasons in one day" for nothing round here!
Keeping up your general fitness, while great for when we can finally travel again safely and freely, is also great for your physical and mental wellbeing. Exercise produces endorphins - the feel-good hormone. Endorphins trigger a positive feeling in the body, so are a natural mood lifter.
I'm also amazed that regular exercise, and the benefits it brings, doesn't require you going to the gym for hours on end. A regular 20 minute walk or cycle has great health benefits.
Keeping fit means I can get about easily and carry my bag.
Mindfulness, meditation and Tai Chi.
I'm a huge fan of Tai Chi. It has stopped the chatter that I used to have in my head - you know the "having a conversation in my head" chatter. It's helped me to slow down and observe the world at a quieter and measured pace. I have noticed a real calming effect on my emotions and mental health.
For me Tai Chi is like slow dance meditation. Since I'm focusing on the breathing and the movements, there is little chance for anything else to enter my brain. So it's the perfect switching off exercise for me.
It's also great at building your core strength, stretching, strengthening muscles - which is why I started in the first place because I had a frozen shoulder. It's also great for balance - think climbing up stairs, getting onto public transport and hanging on while the train/bus is moving.
My teacher, Master Ping, in China has a YouTube channel. The video below is of Qi Gong - a series of exercises that aid wellbeing. Tai Chi is a practise of a set of forms.
I love watching this video because it takes me back to Jima Village in China and the Tai Chi school I attended. Every day I would bike or walk down to this river, with these kaast mountains in the background. It was the most spectacular spot and I can't wait to go back there.
Plus I get to see Master Ping in my lounge. This video fills me with joy. Have a go and see what you think.
Check-ups before travelling.
If you are able to have check-ups (as in face-to-face appointments) now is as good as time as any to get them done. Or if you are in lockdown, make a whole lot of bookings to get all those check-ups done and dusted.
I'm talking -
- Dental checks
- Skin checks
- Cervical smears
- Blood tests (if they're a regular thing for you)
- Optician checks
- Blood pressure checks
- Sexual health checks
- Medication reviews
- And anything else you get (or should get) monitored regularly.
A friend of mine has an easy way to remember that these all get done regularly - as soon as her birthday month is approaching, she rings and makes all her yearly checks - that way nothing gets forgotten - she always knows when the last check was done.
Bathing in blue, Amalfi Coast, Italy.
Let's be travel ready!
I know regular travel could still be quite a while away, but I think for our mental and physical health keeping on top of our health is really important.
Having nursed for over 30 years, I never take health for granted. And I never take life for granted.
I was terrible in my younger years taking risks, and not looking after myself as well as I could. I could get away with that stuff then, but my body doesn't like it so much now. I simply have to take better care of myself. And I'm also the only person that can take responsibility for my own health and wellbeing.
So let's make sure that when the borders open, we'll be fit and healthy for travel!
Just breathing in the ocean air.