Since the beginning of June I have been in California (Truckee, Tahoe, Healdsburg, Salt Point, Sonoma, Napa, San Francisco, Palo Alto, and the eastern Sierras); Texas (Austin,twice); Massachusetts (Martha’s Vineyard, Boston); New York (Brooklyn, Ghent); and by the end of next week I’ll tack Brooklyn (part two) and Blue Hill & Bar Harbor, Maine onto the list. I’m getting very good at packing. I’ve been on a plane every 15 days and on the road often. I’ve been to two beautiful weddings, two inspiring bachelorette parties (believe it) that were basically female brain trust meetings peppered with dirty jokes, spent time with family and soaked up every precious second with some of my most beloved friends. I have undergone 200 hours of Yoga Teacher Training, setting me on the inevitable path of being a life long student. I have bruised my feet from dancing barefoot, read this and this and this and this, slept under the moon, lost my skin on granite cliffs, eaten lunch with dolphins and held the gaze of a perfect red fox. I turned one year older sleeping by the sea. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. It has been a very full summer.
Someone asked me, recently, how I keep from feeling stressed out or worn out when traveling that much. It’s a good question. With so much time in airports (read: gross recycled air, dehydration, and crappy food), or in the car (variation on a theme), or celebrating (opportunities for overindulgence of just about every kind), there is less time for exercise, for sleep, for introspection, for cooking meals at home. The past couple of months have helped me realize that I can be grounded while in motion, if I can stay grounded in myself. Easier said than done, right? How do I do it? Groundedness is very personal, but I think the key is in finding the small routines that are portable, that you can do just about anywhere, and that leave you feeling as though you’ve done at least one thing that keeps your boat on an even keel. It can be as simple as stashing herbal tea in your carry on and getting hot water from the flight attendant instead of a soda. It can be a squeeze of lemon in your morning water, a 10 minute meditation, a few minutes of stretching or a walk once you’ve landed where you’re going.
I wrote last year about what I do when I am on the road to stay sane. When I come home, between trips, I do my best to gently steer myself towards a healthy routine, knowing that it may get thrown to the wayside with the next wedding or climbing trip or visit from a friend. Sometimes one day of restoration is all you need to bring your body, and your mind, back into a more balanced place. These short periods of feeling even keeled can bolster both your nervous system and your immune system. I think of these days in between the upheavals as opportunities to bolster myself–mind and body–so that I can be as flexible as possible when life gets crazy.
Below is a guideline for the routine I use the day before and the day after air travel (whenever possible) and for a day or two or three when I get back home from weeks of travel. If you feel worn out from all the summer fun, or from whatever curve balls you’ve attempted to catch of late, or if you need a day to quietly shift your mind into the coming change of season, you may find this very helpful. The general guideline for this one day detox is to eat restorative, whole foods, avoid processed food, caffeine, sugar, alcohol, and dairy, and to focus on light, plant-filled meals. I personally go for all plant-based meals on these days or add wild-caught fish to one of my meals. No matter what you choose to eat, keep it simple. Olive oil and good sea salt can do a lot more for a meal than you might think. Drink lots of water. Move your body. Sleep.
Drink a cup of warm water with lemon (to alkalinize the gut, initiate parystalsis, and stimulate digestion). If I am traveling a ton or feeling particularly worn down I will add a few drops of Oregano Oil to this as well.
Stretch, do a light yoga practice, or meditate–10-45 minutes depending on energy level & schedule
Breakfast:(within an hour of waking)
Bring 1 cup water to a boil. Add 1/2 cup rolled oats, bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until water is absorbed, stirring occasionally–about 10 minutes. Top oats with 1 T extra virgin olive oil, 2 T raw fermented vegetables, 1/4 sliced avocado, and 1/4-1/2 cup of any raw or lightly steamed vegetables you have on hand (kale, spinach, cucumber, tomatoes, radishes, sprouts, etal)
Herbal Tea (whatever you like but detoxifying favorites of mine are Roasted Dandelion Root, Nettle and Peppermint)
Water (all day long)
60-90 minutes of yoga or a long hike or a short run or a bicycle ride or a dip in the lake. Some activity that gets your heart rate up, brings you into your body, and lets you connect–with yourself and/or with nature.
Snacks: (as needed)
raw vegetables or fruits
Bone broth or miso
1/4 cup raw fermented vegetables
Dinner: (on the earlier side, at least 2 hours before you go to bed)
Stop looking at screens an hour before bed. Drink herbal tea. Read something that has nothing to do with work, something for pleasure. Acknowledge what you are grateful for today. Sleep. If you can’t sleep, try the sleep meditations on this app.
You can maintain this approach for as long as you like. Remember that “clean” or “detox” food is a relative term and means something slightly different to everyone. When in doubt, go for whole foods in an array of colors, and just see what works for your own body. If it doesn’t go perfectly, don’t despair. Tomorrow is another day.