Work has taken me to amazing cities in my career: Boston, New York, and London just to name a few. In the last two weeks I was in San Francisco, Berkley and Hawaii, mostly for work. I had A LOT of fun, but it didn’t come without some sacrifice.
Coming off these recent trips has left me burnt out and exhausted. This is due in part to the accelerated travel schedule I booked for myself after our wedding because I was feeling behind at work. If you’ve ever taken a vacation only to return to work feeling overwhelmed, behind and in need of another vacation then I know you can relate.
I had extended my San Francisco trip into the weekend to see a concert in Berkley Friday night with one of my best friends. Hannah and I had purchased the tickets to see BORNS and The Lumineeers at the Greek Theater in Berkley several months ago after seeing The Lumineers in Portland, and frankly, being on a bit of a concert high. We had also seen BORNS at a small, intimate venue in Portland and were excited to see them play together at a venue like the Greek.
Going into this trip was hard. I was coming down with a cold and a severe case of Traveler’s Guilt. Traveler’s what?? Let me explain. If you spend a significant amount of time traveling for work you will understand and probably have experienced a thing called “Traveler’s Guilt”. It develops because while the traveler is away life at home still happens. The spouse still has to care for children, feed the pets, take out the trash, etc. Friends get together. They will ask the traveler to join, but week after week the traveler is away, and when they are home they just want to BE HOME, preferably locked in a dark room not speaking to a single soul. I joke, but there is a certain amount of recovery time needed after dealing with trains, planes, and TSA. To make symptoms worse, the perception is that the traveler is on vacation meeting people, eating at great restaurants, exploring fun cities or just relaxing in the hotel with room service and bad TV. There is a bit of envy and a bit of loneliness the traveler senses from home that makes the traveler feel bad.
There aren’t enough tales of bad flights or itchy hotel sheets to make the people at home understand the traveler’s absence is not a vacation. Especially because, for most, there is nowhere the traveler would rather be than at home with their loved ones. It’s a different type of work day and no different than the guilt felt by one after working too many long days and weekends. The guilt is not assigned by the people at home. It’s internal, but very real.
So here I am, in the midst of back to back weeks of travel since getting married, and my sweet husband wants to hang out with his wife who is gone 2-4 days of every week, and now extending her stay to hang out and party with her friend in California while it pours rain in Portland. Perfect recipe for Traveler’s Guilt! It should be noted that he is nothing but supportive and encouraging, which is just one reason why I love him so much.
Traveler’s Guilt was only one of my issues during the San Francisco trip. Second, and more detrimental to a productive work week, was my cold. I started this blog because I recognized how hard it is to live a healthy lifestyle while traveling. This trip, however, showed me how hard it is to get healthy when sick while traveling.
I landed in SFO early Wednesday morning and trudged through my meetings. I embraced the notion to “feed a cold” and drank a ton of water throughout the day. Wednesday night I left dinner early and was asleep by 8:30, but when my phone chimed at 5am the next morning my body and my head ached. Despite my will to work out I stayed in bed, and I slept instead of pushing myself through a workout.
One of the hardest things for me to do is take a day off from activity. I tend to take my rest days when they are forced upon me because of an early fight and a late work day, otherwise, I do something every day be it weight training, cardio, yoga, etc. However stubborn I may be about it in my own life, the truth is that optimal health is achieved through balance, and rest days are an important part of achieving balance, especially when you’re not feeling well.
I contribute feeling better Friday morning to the combination of rest, cold medicine and the excitement to see Hannah. In fact, I felt well enough that I made my way to a nearby 24 Hour Fitness for a morning workout. Although feeling better I wasn’t 100%, and I knew I needed to take it easy. I wasn’t planning to write a workout for this trip because of how I was feeling, but halfway through I realized this would be perfect for anyone new weight training. I tend to workout in circuits where I keep my heart rate up by performing exercises back to back with very little rest in between. This workout, however, resembles a more traditional form of weight training where each set is followed by a period of rest. I like this for beginners because the exercises are basic but effective. And, I like this for advanced gym goers too because it’s great for increasing strength. Also, I was SOOOO sore the next day.