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Extensive traveling not only takes a toll on your body (AKA: jet lag) but also your mind. If you are on the road for business, then staying mentally sharp is imperative. You don't want to lose your edge. Even if you are vacationing, you still should stay alert to enjoy everything and soak up the memories.

In this article, we will explore how to stay mentally sharp while traveling.

mental health benefits of traveling

1. Take Time to Rest Your Mind and Body

Traveling is exciting and filled with adventures around every corner, but it can also be mentally exhausting. You'll want to take time to rest by getting at least eight hours of sleep or an afternoon nap. Slumber keeps your mind alert and functioning at full capacity.

2. Enjoy Some Relaxing Tunes

When traveling, you might have a hard time relaxing. Maybe it's the change in time zones or just an unsettled routine. The key to sleeping is to relax and music is a great way to ease anxiety. Listen to your favorite tunes softly to help you slip into a restful slumber. You can download music on your phone, laptop, tablet, or computer prior to your trip.

3. Enjoy a Workout

Are you facing a lengthy plane, train, or auto ride? Sitting for long periods of time can sap the energy out of anyone. Working out gets your heart pumping and your blood flowing. It will help reduce your restlessness and ease stress prior to embarking on your journey. Traveling unsettles your body’s circadian clock which is the leading cause of insomnia and jet lag.

However, research shows that a good workout can actually strengthen your circadian clock so you don’t suffer so much as you cross the various time zones.

Interesting reads: How to Reduce Stress While Traveling

4. Stay Hydrated with H20

Hydration affects more than just your level of thirst. If your body requires H20 then you can become moody and irritable. You also might have a hard time thinking clearly. If you are flying, the lounge might be calling your name. Perhaps you are envisioning a cold beer, crisp mixed drink, or a shot of whiskey.

However, it’s important to limit your consumption of alcohol. Alcohol dehydrates the body, can cause a headache, upset your stomach, and fog your mind. Instead, drink plenty of water to battle brain fog and you will see an instant improvement in your cognitive abilities.

5. Pack a Few Snacks

It’s hard to concentrate if your stomach is growling and you can’t think of anything but food. Waiting for an airline to serve a meal can feel like torture. Packing a few healthy snacks balances your mood and gives you a greater feeling of wellbeing. Snacks like apple slices, crackers, celery, cheese, or some other quick meal, is a great idea at any time of day.

Healthy snacks help you make it between meals so you can focus on other things besides your overpowering hunger.

6. Turn to Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy has a long history of providing healthful benefits to those who take the time to do it. Inhaling an invigorating scent will uplift your mood and wake you up, and it can even calm you down. Aromatherapy is a great way to stave off drowsiness and restore your mental abilities. My recommendation: try a zesty lemon or soothing lavender scent and you will not regret it.

7. Say NO to Caffeine

If you start to mentally slip, then it might seem natural to turn to black coffee or caffeine spiked energy drinks, but aside from a quick pick-me-up, it will never last long. Afterward, you will start to crash and feel even worse than you did before. Instead of drinking caffeine, sip on a piping hot cup of peppermint tea or juice.

Research has found that a drink like a peppermint tea can improve cognitive abilities and memory, which is very important while on the road. If you must turn to coffee, then do not overdo it with a mega-sized brew. Instead, ingest small amounts of coffee throughout the day to maintain your mental awareness.

8. Indulge in a Power Nap

Yes, it’s hard to sleep when you are traveling, which is why many people grow tired and foggy early on in their travels. However, taking time out for a 20-minute power nap throughout the day might be just what you need.

9. If You Can't Exercise, Then Stretch

Stretching in your seat gets your blood flowing, loosens muscles, and eases painful knots. It might not seem like much, but consistently stretching can help you keep a limber physique. Try stretching every 20 minutes if you are confined to an airline seat or bus. You don’t even have to leave your seat to stretch and it can make a huge difference to how your body feels.

mental health benefits of traveling

10. Cognitive Tests to Stay Mentally Alert

My final tip is something you may not have heard of but can be a huge help to anybody who is traveling. Online cognitive tests not only help you stay mentally alert and challenged, but they are also fun and meaningful. Staying alert while traveling is important and these tests can see just how effective your brain functions.

Traveling can knock your cognitive abilities out of whack (especially if you are on the road for a long while) and these types of online tests are a great way to continuously stimulate yourself.

We all love traveling, but it’s very rarely permanent so staying alert and sharp is important – these above tips can help you keep thinking. Some of the ideas might work better for certain people and others for different individuals, so don’t be afraid to try out a few and figure out a routine that fits you.

You will just have to figure out which one is best for your unique needs. After that, you won’t need to worry about losing your sharpness, no matter how long you are on the road.
Kalyan Panja Kalyan Panja Author

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