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Travel can be exhausting, especially when there isn’t any down time in between taxis, flights, meetings, dinners, and social obligations. Traveling also tends to be one of the biggest culprits of a self-care practice gone astray. It’s hard enough to juggle life—the alarm clock, the dog, the kids, day-planning, the commute, deadlines, emails, meetings, appointments, laundry, and meal prep. Throw a vacation, a business trip, or a holiday in there, and the first thing to go is usually your ritual of self-care.
Your daily Sadhana—or spiritual practice—is something that allows you to connect to yourself at a deeper level. It also helps bridge your connection with your environment and with those you care about. When you have a daily practice of mindfulness, meditation, and gratitude, you feel happier, more centered, and at peace—even when life puts you on planes, trains, and automobiles.
So how can you make sure to stick to your meditation practice when you’re out of your element and away from your usual daily routine? For the most part, the keys to success are the same: decide, commit, and succeed—and, of course, there will always be variables.
First and foremost, you need to be 100 percent committed to your daily practice if you are to have success in maintaining it. Your “why” for sitting in meditation must be more important to you than your reasons and your excuses for not doing it. Plain and simple. Yes, life is busy—hundreds of things can come up (and they always do), but your practice must be the one non-negotiable thing on your to-do list.
For many people, traveling throws them out of their routine and they’re either too tired or don’t have the time to practice their meditation. It can be challenging to find your groove, but it is possible. Here are seven tips for making sure you stick to your meditation while traveling.
As you prepare for your travel, make a solid commitment to yourself to stay on point with your meditation every day. This means you’re going to need to sacrifice something along the way—like sleep or social engagements—to achieve what you want. Successful people are the ones who do the things that keep them focused and on track every single day—without fail. Once you decide and commit, the next step is to take action.
While you can meditate without any tools or equipment, it may be helpful to bring a few things to set the vibe while you’re on the road. Consider traveling with a candle (one that is in a tin and has a lid), noise-canceling headphones, and a small blanket. Having these simple things can help you feel restful in your meditation no matter where you practice.
When you’re in route, maximize your time by meditating in the back of your Uber, at your gate, or on the airplane. This is a great time to get your practice in if your travel day is hectic and you’re not able to do it before heading out the door.
Tip: If you’re sensitive to noise, use ear plugs or noise-canceling headphones.
Whether you’re on vacation, a business trip, or spending the holidays with family, get a handle on what your days are going to look like and schedule your meditation accordingly. If the days are packed from morning to night, wake up 30 minutes earlier than you would at home so you can fit it in. Do not renegotiate your meditation. If you put it off until “later,” it will probably never happen. Manage your time wisely to maximize your efforts.
If you’re traveling with someone and sharing a space, you make need to get creative with where you meditate. A yard, balcony, or bathroom are all viable options if you’re on a different schedule than your travel companion. Bring your pillow, blanket, and candle with you to make it feel more comfortable. And while the bathroom may sound crazy—it’s a legitimate option, so keep an open mind.
Sometimes being forced to meditate in a new environment provides you with an opportunity to adapt more to your practice. Different surroundings will bring new experiences, some of which you may find that you actually enjoy. At the end of the day, you will have gotten your meditation in and that will leave you feeling accomplished.
If your travel has you crossing different time zones, be okay with changing things up. Travel can be unpredictable and requires that you have a level of flexibility across the board. Your meditation practice is no exception. If you typically meditate first thing in the morning before the day gets rolling, try meditating in the late afternoon or just before going to sleep at night. You may find that meditating at different times while you’re out of your regular routine proves beneficial.
Meditation provides you with deeper states of rest than sleep does. If you maintain your practice, you will feel more energized and rested overall, especially during times of heightened stress and busyness.
Travel can take a toll on your body so it’s important to do your best to fuel yourself properly. Eat clean and stay hydrated—this will keep your energy levels up during the day and help your body stay healthy.
Next time you land in a new city, head straight to Whole Foods to buy electrolyte-enhanced water and all the healthy snacks you need. That way, you don’t depend on whatever food is immediately around you when you’re running between meetings or social engagements.
Whenever possible, get to bed early for a good night of rest. Do your best to minimize alcohol intake as it will affect your mental clarity and quality of sleep. If you wake up feeling cloudy and sluggish, it reduces the likelihood that you’ll get up and meditate. If meditation is more relaxing for you than it is energizing, try sitting right before you go to sleep to help you ease into a more restful state.
Remember, the only failed meditation is the one you don’t do. Meditating when traveling can be hard, but you always have a choice. Do your best to set yourself up for success and recognize that you’ll continue to learn what works well for you. By keeping up with your daily practice, you’ll be happier, healthier, more pleasant to be around, and have more focus and clarity.
Recommit to your practice with Dr. Deepak Chopra at our 6-day yoga and meditation retreat, Seduction of Spirit. Seduction of Spirit is an opportunity to step away from the noise and busyness of daily life and – through meditation, yoga and immersion in the Seven Spiritual Laws of Success – bring into crystal clear focus what you’re here to contribute and who you really are. Register Now.