So, it’s “cold” season – both literally and figuratively. As those of us in the Northern Hemisphere know, winter is most definitely on its way. As we see the days get shorter, and the weather get cooler, a lot of us are more and more prone to the common cold. As such, it’s extra important to focus on boosting immunity during this time of year, especially if you’re travelling.
Although I used to always love being on planes, I’ve started to dislike plane rides. Unfortunately, planes seem to be a magnet for bacteria, coughs, and picking up other people’s illnesses. I’ve gotten sick after trips before, though not every time. Having said that, I’ll be travelling again in a couple of weeks, and while it’ll be a short trip to another Canadian city, I’ll be around a ton of other travellers. Here are some of my tips to staying as healthy as possible while travelling during the winter season:
1. Drink (a lot of) water.
This is always my first tip. It’s imperative to make sure that you’re drinking at least 2 litres of water every day. Personally, I feel best when I drink 3L of water per day, but anything in the 2-3L range seems healthy to me. It’s easy to get dehydrated, so it’s good to stay on top of this.
2. Wash your hands (a lot).
A seemingly no-brainer, a lot of people skip over washing their hands before eating. Should you be touching your face, or eating, it’s important to wash your hands first. It’s also a no-brainer to always wash your hands after using the bathroom, touching doorknobs, etc!
3. Eat healthy & take supplements.
Good nutrition is a game-changer. I’ve been on a somewhat restricted “diet” (I hate that word) for the last few weeks, and while it was really hard to get on board with it at the beginning, I’ve realized that it’s helped me ease some of my previous symptoms. It’s also been helpful for me to take key supplements, like Vitamin D (especially important in the winter months), B vitamins, Omega 3s, and iron. Not everyone needs iron, and it’s important to check your iron levels with your doctor before taking it, but I personally struggle with low iron and know that having really low iron makes me feel weak. The important thing is to know your own deficiencies and to figure out how to boost them via good food and supplements, because some supplements may be too much for you!
Bonus: eat healthy while you’re travelling, too. I used to eat terribly at airports, but the best thing to do would be to eat good food and to drink some immunity shots (ginger, turmeric, lemon) instead of binging on fast food. Although I find it difficult to pack a ton of food, it helps to have healthy snacks on hand.
4. Prioritize sleep.
When we travel, it’s easy to get jittery and to forget to sleep. It’s especially difficult when we travel overseas and feel jetlagged. While I personally don’t struggle too much with jetlag (because I’m usually exhausted by the time I land anyway), I have a really hard time sleeping on planes. This past summer, I flew from Toronto to Amsterdam, and was so sleep-deprived over the course of 36 hours that I’m fairly sure my body punished me for it for a few months after. I hadn’t slept much the night before my flight, didn’t sleep during my red-eye, and barely slept the night after because I was pushed beyond my limits. This set me up for an awfully exhausting trip that I didn’t really recover from until I had gone home several weeks later. Not worth it!
5. Do your research.
Should you be going to a “new” destination for you, it would be good to know what happens to be an issue at your travel destination. For example, I’ve been to Cuba twice. During both trips, I made it a point to always have bottled water everywhere I went. I would do the same at most destinations, but knowing that Cuba has a particular issue with tap water made me aware of this problem. In some places, the tap water isn’t an issue, but maybe certain foods will set you off. It’s also possible that some places have allergens that you know you’re allergic to, so it’s important to know about all of that so you can prepare.
In any case, while it seems easier to get sick in the winter, there are a lot of things we can do to help our bodies fight against the cold! I personally will be doing everything I can to stay healthy this winter, and that includes not being outside for too long!