Planning an international event can require traveling to destinations half way around the world without missing a step. However, the impact of changes in time zones can be quite challenging for any body. For some people, just a one-hour shift in time (e.g. daylight savings time twice a year) can throw the body’s clock off for a week.
The most common symptoms include fatigue, confusion and lack of awareness…not to mention drowsiness. That is not good news for those who have to be at their peak to handle all the moving parts at a conference. That is why the following four strategies are must-haves for the global meeting professional toolbox.
Set to your destination time zone immediately.
If you are traveling from Chicago to London and that flight departs around 6 p.m. and arrives in London around 8 a.m. the next morning, the first thing you’ll want to do when you get on the plane (literally when you step on) is tell your mind that it is now six hours later. So, if you board at 5:30 p.m., you will completely change your mindset to believe that it’s 11:30 PM. Part of the challenge with this is that most international flights like to show the time of your departure and arrival city on the airplane monitors. Don’t look at those and just completely imagine that you are on London time. Set your cell phone to London time and use that to keep track of your journey while you’re in the air.
Drinking lots of filtered water is foundational to good health in general, even more so when traveling. Dehydration is one of the biggest causes of jet lag, so you will want to drink as much water as you possibly can before, during and after your flight. I recommend that you purchase a bottle of water after clearing security and drink it throughout the flight.
One of the big mistakes travelers make is taking a quick nap (which can go longer than you want) when they arrive at their destination. It’s fine to take a one-hour nap if you arrive at your hotel before 11 a.m. If you arrive after that though, it’s important that you stay awake until 9 p.m. (local time) the first two nights.
Literally Ground Yourself.
One of the best ways to sync your body to the destination time zone is to get bare feet on earth in that destination. This can be challenging if you are in a big city, but if you can find a park, and walk around barefoot for just 20 minutes, it will help your body reduce jet lag. The main way it does this is by helping your body release the static charge that gets built up while on the airplane, which allows your cells to recharge with energy.
John Ayo is a professional speaker, traditional naturopath and author. After a successful sales career at IBM, he began facilitating sales classes domestically and internationally and wrote a book called “Travel Balance” that helps people to stay energized and healthy on the go. He has taught more than 4,000 people in 26 countries about his secrets to better health on the road (and at home).