Margin + Well-Being

The Best Ways To Beat Jet Lag On International Trips

My tried and true tips.

The Gorgeous Kitchen    at Heathrow Airport in London.

The Gorgeous Kitchen at Heathrow Airport in London.

As a professional speaker and business consultant, I spend a not insignificant amount of time traveling to conferences and to meet with clients. While it is a dream job and I am very lucky, the travel comes with the realities of jet lag.

If you also travel often for work – for destination weddings or attending wedding conferences – you know that you often have to hit the ground running with little time to deal with all the side effects of jet lag. Here are my top tricks for minimizing jetlag’s impact:

Bring your own tea and coffee in your carryon.

Bring your own tea and coffee in your carryon.

1. Make Your Destination Time Zone Your New Boss

Once you’re on the plane, set your watch to the current time in your destination and then behave accordingly. This means you will eat, sleep, and work on your new time zone, regardless of the time it actually is wherever you are in the air.

MY AIR TRAVEL HACKS FOR SLEEPING

If you have trouble sleeping on planes, just remember that sleeping is a skill and like any skill you can work to improve it. While I am still not one of those people who can fall asleep the second I close my eyes and I’ve yet to figure out how to make the 20-minute power nap work for me, when it comes to sleeping on planes, I am now a pro. Here is how I do it:

  • I prefer the Howard Leight by Honeywell ear plugs because they don't hurt my ears. As a bonus, each pair comes individually wrapped, so you can toss them in your personal carryon without them getting gross.

  • I’ve been a religious user of the 40 Blinks sleep mask by Bucky for over a decade. The eye area is contoured and doesn’t lay flat against your eye lids like normal sleep masks. This allows room for your lashes to flutter so that your REM sleep isn't interrupted.

  • I also bring this cushioned footrest hammock by Sleepy Ride that keeps your feet elevated, allowing you to sleep no matter which cabin class you’re in. It works in both standard and extra leg room seats in any cabin. It is discreet and rarely noticeable except to possibly your seatmate (if you're using a blanket, it is not noticeable at all).

  • Keeping it real: sometimes I pop a Benadryl if my body does not want to cooperate in falling asleep at the new appropriate time, but if you can do it without a sleep aid, even better.

MY AIR TRAVEL HACKS FOR STAYING AWAKE

Since you’ll be awake while most people on the flight are asleep (because they are living in the present, you are not), here are a few things I do to make it all work:

  • When it comes to meals, you’ll be eating at the normal time in your destination time zone, not necessarily when the flight attendants serve food. This often means packing your own snacks: protein bars, nut butter packets with apple slices or a banana, etc.

  • I also bring a few of my own tea bags and Starbucks Via packets since airplane tea/coffee is not always the best. Just ask for a cup of hot water.

  • I recommend using the Libby app to download free library books and audiobooks to your Kindle or Audible app on your iPad or phone before your trip so that they’re ready for you on the plane. If your library uses Kanopy or a similar service, you can also download movies and TV shows.

    This is not the time to pretend you are going to catch up on all the business books you haven’t gotten around to yet. Choose books that are fun and compelling – page turners that you can’t put down, ones that make you want to stay up reading.

Post-flight selfie at the Ritz-Carlton Toronto in my 15-20 mmHg compression pantyhose.

Post-flight selfie at the Ritz-Carlton Toronto in my 15-20 mmHg compression pantyhose.

2. Take Care of Your Legs

Medical-grade compression pantyhose are one of the best kept secrets among flight attendants, wedding planners, photographers, makeup artists, and other career women whose jobs require them to be on their feet for hours upon hours and to look stylish while doing so.

These work the same way compression socks or compression leggings do. Just like you can find on-trend compression socks these days, you can now also find on-trend sheer or opaque compression stockings that look just like the normal everyday tights you wear with your Fall and Winter dresses. Look for a medium strength of 15-20 mmHg, the same grade that flight attendants wear.

While the graduated compression helps circulation, preventing blood clots and the dreaded post-flight Cabbage Patch doll cankle situation, it also helps decrease the effects of jet lag – a lot. Like a lot, a lot.

Splendid Pro Tip: Some graduated compression pantyhose are control top, but most control top pantyhose do not offer compression through the leg, so make sure you double check when purchasing that you’re getting the right product.

Art museum selfie.

Art museum selfie.

3. Keep It Moving

If you’re not headed straight to a meeting when you arrive, one of the best things you can do is keep moving – literally.

Hit up the hotel’s fitness center or go for a run (some of the best networking at business conferences happens between 5-6 am in the hotel gym, so hopefully you’re bringing some type of exercise clothing with you).

If you don’t have space in your carryon, pack your workout gear at the top of your checked luggage so that if your hotel room isn’t ready when you arrive, you can still easily grab it to change into.

If you’re not feeling up for a workout, play tourist and visit a museum or get in some retail therapy (shopping is always the most fun in foreign countries) – this will force you to walk around, keeping you active.

Splendid Pro Tip: If you find yourself in certain cities a lot, buy an annual membership to a local museum. It’s a great place to hang between meetings, typically has a decent restaurant, and a surefire way to get inspired.

5 Ways To Keep Your Sanity as An Entrepreneur

Keeping your focus where it belongs.

Photography by    Cameron Clark

Photography by Cameron Clark


It's easy, especially when the future seems uncertain, to become jaded, to let annoyances pile up, to react to the short-term instead of thinking through things strategically with the long-term in mind..

It can also be difficult to focus on your work when the seemingly reactionary decisions of your competitors — such as doing work for a deep discount or as trade for "exposure" — affect the conversations your clients have with you.

If you can keep your mind and your energy in a space that is healthy, you'll be able to more clearly see the opportunities that are in front of you right now. Here are some tips on how to do that:

1. A Gratitude Journal

I've talked about these before, and I believe in them so much. Take time each day to jott down three things you are grateful for. You can do this with regular pen and paper, one of the many gratitude apps, or even Instagram. Yes, we all like to have our mini pity parties and no one is grateful 100% of time, but you can't keep that up 24/7.

Spending a few minutes each day focusing on what did go right and you do have (it doesn't need to be material) will help shape your outlook for the better.

2. Watch What You Say (or Write)

While you may take note of a few things you're thankful for, it sort of negates the entire process if you then turn around and use Instagram Stories, Facebook, or Twitter to vent about every little annoyance. No need to be a Pollyanna (those are just as annoying), but venting should make up a small percentage of what you share, not the majority.

Go through your social media posts from the past month and see how many are complaints. Set a goal to cut that number in half over the next month. Chances are you’ll start to notice a positive difference in your perspective.

3. Unsubscribe from the Dramacolypse

While you should have people in your life who are willing to be REAL and not fake happy-go-lucky 24/7, you should also be careful not to surround yourself with people who are cynical dream-stoppers. This also includes people you follow on social media. If someone gets under your skin or lives in your head "rent-free," unsubscribe, unfollow, or mute them.

Real drama is your friend who is going through chemo or a divorce or taking care of a sick family member. Unnecessary drama is the inane gossip people circulate because they are intimidated by someone else’s success.

4. Declutter and Streamline

The scientific law Occam's razor suggests that the simplest solution is usually the best one. Getting simple, however, is not always easy. It requires being willing to let things go. It also requires checking your ego at the door so that you can make things work for you without worrying about what everyone else is doing.

Take some time to evaluate what things or processes you can cut or simplify in your life or workflow. This isn't a license to be selfish, but it is a way to evaluate what you need to do to simplify your life and your business. What areas can you streamline?

5. Breathe

Create margin for your life. The easiest way to do this is to create boundaries around how you work and when you are available to people. There will be some days that require you to work late and reply to emails at 2:00 A.M., but if this is a daily occurrence, it's likely time to slow down.

Slowing down can be difficult because it often means giving up the facade of power. It is also easy to justify our propensity toward a frenetic pace by using the excuse that we love our work. You should love your work. You should also love yourself and your family enough to keep your mental, emotional, and physical health in check.

Slow down. Go to sleep. Get some exercise. Take a "sabbath" day or afternoon to renew your mind and spirit (it doesn't have to be Saturday or Sunday).

As the saying goes, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Once you slow down, you’ll find that you think more clearly, focus better, and get more done when you sit down to work again.


Originally published April 2009

Getting a Fresh Start

TGIM.

A Monday morning sunrise at The Breakers in West Palm Beach, Florida. Photo with my iPhone.

A Monday morning sunrise at The Breakers in West Palm Beach, Florida. Photo with my iPhone.


Mondays get a bad rap. The propensity to hate Mondays is culturally engrained, but I've found that rejecting the TGIF concept that good can only begin when work has ended has been a far better way to go.

Several ago, I spoke at a conference with my friend and colleague, Mindy Weiss. During her presentation she mentioned that every Monday she gets up excited about her job, no matter how much she may have hated it over the weekend. Naturally, I loved her talk since Mondays are my favorite (as are sunrises, for many of the same reasons). It was a great reminder that Mondays can be magical, if you let them.

Here are some of my favorite things about Mondays:
 

1. Mondays are a clean slate and a fresh start.

Every week you get a chance to start fresh, try new ideas, dream bigger, do better work. Yes, you can technically do this each morning, but sometimes that pace can be a bit overwhelming. Mondays provide a nice, clean, manageable break in time.
 

2. Mondays are a great reminder of how lucky a person is to be doing work they love. 

If you hate them, they're a great reminder that it's not too late to start figuring out what it is you'd rather be doing and start working towards doing that.
 

3. The most successful people I know love Mondays.

Some of the kindest people I know also love Mondays. I don't believe that success and kindness have to be mutually exclusive.
 

If you hate Mondays, figure out a way to redesign your career and life – or even just your attitude and mindset – so that you love them. Starting each week with a sense of possibility is far better than starting off with a sense of dread.


Originally published September 2012