Surviving a long-haul flight with your sanity intact

Yay… the holiday season is finally here! However, holidays means flying... and flying usually brings to mind dreadful plane food, being squashed in a tinny seat, disgusting air, sleep deprivation,  and loads of annoying in-flight announcements. If that wasn’t bad enough after we reach our destination we might be feeling jet-lagged, especially when crossing different flight zones.

I visit my family in Poland every year and I love it once I am there, but I dread the flying part of my holiday. I'm sure this feeling resonates with many of you.  This May I endured another journey which took over 20 hours with a lengthy layover in Copenhagen. However, this time I took steps to make the experience more comfortable. In this post, I share my TOP ways to stay sane despite feeling like a crushed sardine in a tin can.

Pack your own food or go without

Not only does aeroplane food taste dreadful, but to keep it fresh and infection free - airlines often spray it with antibacterial chemicals… ya, I know gross. So pack something to snack on. My favourite on-the-go snacks are avocados, raw carrots, various types of sprouted nut butters, hard-boiled eggs, and freshly baked primal/paleo friendly goodies. For snack recipes click here.

No time to do food shopping before your trip, then skip eating food altogether. While on the plane practise intermittent fasting. A few of my friends reported no sight of jet-lag as a result of this practice. I love food too much to do it, hence I packed some yummy lemon muffins - recipe below.

Or you might get lucky and there may be some decent food at the airport such as paleo treats or kombucha. In Denmark, for example, I found Paleo bread and a delicious veggie juice.

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Bring a refillable water bottle

The cabin air is extremely dry which might leave you feeling dehydrated. To make sure you stay hydrated drink plenty of water… and yes that means you will be standing up a lot to visit the bathroom so you’d better opt for an aisle seat. Also, don’t be tempted by drinking caffeine, sweet juices, fizzy drinks, alcohol or all the other questionable drinks served on the plane. If you fancy drinking something other than water, how about a herbal tea? My favourite is chamomile or lavender.

Bring a sleeping mask & earplugs or noise- cancelling headphones

If you’re planning on sleeping then bring these two items with you, as not only planes are very loud and the constant announcements annoying, but also the cabin is filled with LED lighting which will otherwise keep you awake.  If you do own a pair of blue light blocking glasses then wear them while you’re not asleep and are watching in-flight entertainment. Also, always ask for a pillow and a blanket to cover up and stay warm. If you stay asleep for at least three hours, I consider it a job well done. If you really can’t sleep then just be thankful that the flight does eventually end.

Exercise

Make sure you do some stretching outside before you board the plane and then once you are on the plane, flex your feet and legs. It’s very important to keep the blood flowing, so make sure you keep standing up and walking around. I watched two films while switching between standing up and sitting on my flight from Shanghai to Copenhagen.

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Grounding & Sun

When booking your flights, wherever possible make sure your flight arrives late afternoon or nighttime. If you arrive early at your destination trying to keep awake, while only existing in a pure state of groggy unconsciousness can be tough. 

The next day as soon as you wake up, go outside and get grounded. Grounding means simply connecting your bare skin to the bare earth…Yes, you’ve read correctly and no, I’m not crazy. Walking barefoot on grass for 30 minutes will help your jet lag go away - I did it and it resulted in zero jet lag symptoms. The morning sunlight will also help you reset your circadian rhythm so it’s important to get outside, take off your shoes and start moving. To read more about the amazing benefits of sunlight, click here

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I arrived in Poland at 1 AM, went to sleep and as soon as I woke up (7 AM) I went outside, kicked off my shoes and put my bare feet on the grass for 30 minutes, then I went to the beach and did my morning workout. I did the same thing upon my arrival in Shanghai, sadly without the beach part. 

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And finally, don’t forget to keep your gut and digestive system happy while travelling by eating loads of probiotics rich food such as these Polish pickles. 

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Kiszone ogórki

This family recipe includes cloves of garlic, a flowering stem of dill, a piece of horseradish root, horseradish leaves, and salt. 

Lemon Muffins

INGREDIENTS:

  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 5 drops DoTerra Lemon EO
  • 3 drops DoTerra Lime EO 
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • Stevia (optional)
  • 5 eggs
  • 100 coconut oil or ghee melted
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 cup grated carrots 
  • pinch of sea salt

INSTRUCTIONS: 

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the coconut flour, baking soda, vinegar, and sea salt.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs well. 
  • Mix in the chia seeds, coconut milk, vanilla extract, EOs and melted coconut oil.
  • Add the ingredients together, and stir until combined. Fold in the grated carrots.
  • Scoop the batter evenly into the muffin silicone tins, filling them about ¾ full.
  • Bake for about 25 minutes. The muffins are done when a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean and the tops feel springy to the touch.
  • Take the muffins out of the oven. Cool the tray on a rack for about 5 minutes and then pop the muffins out and completely cool them directly on the rack.
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Here are some snapshots from my holidays…

P.S. If you found today’s article useful, please share this blog post on your Facebook and WeChat moments or even by email with anyone you think, who might benefit from reading it. If you decide to make any of my recipes don't forget to tag me on Instagram @ThriveInShanghai. I'll see that you get bonus karma points for taking the few seconds to do so. 

Also, for those who are ready, I have limited spaces available for one-on-one work. I find that free information is a great start, but it's personalised support and accountability that really make the difference. Find out more here.

Bon Voyage! 

Iza