Prioritising your mental health when travelling for business can be a tricky task. You’re likely to already be multi-tasking and trying to fit your usual work and life schedule in around travelling, so it’s easy for self-care to take a back seat. So, how can you make your mental health a priority when travelling?
Today marks World Mental Health Day, and whilst mental health has become more prominently discussed in recent years, there is still a stigma attached – particularly in the workplace and professional business settings. But considering that 1 in 4 of us will be directly affected by a mental health issue in any given year, it is time to start making sure employers and employees are well-equipped to understand and deal with mental health issues. After all, all employers have a duty of care to their employees while they’re travelling, which is not only a moral but also a legal obligation to ensure their employees are kept safe – this extends to their overall health and mental wellbeing.
We believe that there are steps that both employees and employers together can make to ensure mental health is prioritised when travelling for business.
What can YOU do to look after your mental health when travelling?
- Self Care
Self-care is paramount to mental health and needs to be prioritised when you’re travelling away for business. The idea of self-care and what it entails can be different from person to person, but it is generally a combination of the below points.
- Eat Healthily and Exercise
The mind and digestive system are more connected than you might think. By maintaining a healthy diet when you’re travelling, not only will you feel more energetic and less sluggish, but your mind will thank you for it too. Exercising is also a great way to boost your immune system and will instantly make you feel brighter and happier, due to the endorphins released when exercising.
Getting between 7-9 hours sleep a night is essential for giving your mind enough time to recharge for the next day. Being well-rested is one of the best forms of self-care and will help you operate at your most productive on your business trip.
- Avoid Excessive Caffeine/Alcohol
Although caffeine can be a great way to perk yourself up first thing in the morning, it can actually lead to an energy crash a few hours later. It works by spiking your adrenaline, which can actually add to any anxiety related jitters you’re already suffering from, so it may be wise to avoid too much caffeine. Alcohol can also have a negative effect on your mental health, so is best to be enjoyed in moderation – this will also ensure you’re feeling fresher the next day, too!
- Let Your Mind Take A Break
It’s important to truly switch off at the end of the day, let yourself leave any stresses of the day behind at the office – this can be even more difficult when you’re away for business! Make sure you allow yourself some time-out in the evenings, whether this is running a nice relaxing bath, going for a stroll to explore the city you’re staying in, or reading a book.
- Listen To Your Body
The most important thing you can do is listen to your body, if you feel exhausted – respect this and prioritise some rest time. If you feel like you could do with some exercise or some fresh air, take yourself outside for a walk. We have shared some useful tips to help you make the most of your business trip here.
What can YOUR EMPLOYER do?
- Remote Working
If you’ve been travelling for a long period of time, and are feeling jetlagged, the ability to work from home once you’ve returned from your trip can feel like a lifesaver. Not having to suffer the long commute into the office, and being able to work from the comfort of your own home can make a huge difference to how quickly you recover from your trip.
- Smart Working
Or even better – maybe your employer will allow you to earn some time off by ‘smart-working’? This is a policy we have in place here at Gray Dawes, if an employer requires a few hours off then they’re allowed to work some additional time here and there, to accrue the time.
- Be Supportive
A supportive and understanding boss can make all the difference. Sometimes, being able to be honest with your boss and letting them know you’re feeling exhausted from travelling – both mentally and physically! – in itself can help you feel like a weight has been lifted from your shoulders. Your boss may even be able to make allowances to help you with your workload if they know you’re struggling. Don’t be afraid to reach out and talk.
Gray Dawes Group are proud to support raising mental health awareness, especially in the workplace, and we encourage both employers and employees to do all they can to ensure their mental health is not forgotten. More information and advice can be found on the Mind website here.