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A guide on how business travellers can combat stress

Business travel can be stressful and comes with a demanding schedule. According to experts, establishing a routine is paramount in reducing stress levels while travelling for business.

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According to Dr Linessa Moodley, a psychiatrist practicing at the Akeso Clinic in Kenilworth, it is well-known that being away from home and in an unfamiliar environment, contributes to heightened stress levels for business travellers. “When traveling for business, work-related anxiety, coupled with the anxiety of the unexpected and unknown is further magnified by the pressures of representing your company and performing well on a specific task,” she says.

Plan well and establish a routine

Moodley says planning well and establishing a routine is essential to reducing any form of anxiety and stress related to travelling. She recommends that as part of the planning phase, travellers divide the trip into three categories and allocate tasks for each phase: pre-flight, which she refers to as the preparation phase; flight, as the comfort phase and post-flight, as the active phase.

“It may not be fun to plan, but it is crucial to reduce stress levels. Through planning, the unknown becomes both known and anticipated and is less intimidating. As important, try to get back into your usual routine or as close to it as possible as soon as you can during the trip. Having a routine provides stability and facilitates a smoother transition,” she says.

Mainting good physical health

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Maintaining good physical health and a balanced diet also contributes significantly to reducing stress and anxiety. Eating healthy abroad is as important as eating healthily at home. Business travellers often have erratic schedules and may skip meals, which will adversely impact both mood and concentration. Maintaining a normal exercise routine will also assist with reducing stress. Therefore, light early evening exercise will help to improve the quality of sleep,” Moodley says.

Michael Liffmann, hotel manager at The Westin Hotel Cape Town, says ensuring guests maintain a balanced diet and stick to an exercise programme, is high on the hotel’s priority list. The Westin has their Sleep Well, Eat Well, Feel Well and Move Well strategies in place to ensure guests pack in a selection of superfoods and enforce their at-home exercise and sleep programmes even while travelling.

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Liffmann says the SuperFoodsRX menu has been created together with a team of doctors and nutritionists and the menu combines foods known to increase nutritional value and restore focussed energy. To encourage a daily exercise routine, he says the WestinWorkout Gym features state-of-the-art equipment like treadmills and stationery bikes to restore the balance of your mind and body.

To highlight Stress Awareness Month, Moodley says mental health is a “vital component” of overall health and general wellbeing. “It is essential that we take the time to pay attention to both our bodies and our minds and that we are cognizant of the impact that high stress levels have on both. Pay attention to your body’s needs and your emotional state. And most importantly, be kind to yourself,” she says.

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