Words by Renae Robinson
We all know work can have its stressful moments, as can travel. Put them together and you have a recipe for mayhem and meltdown. So what’s the stressed-out business traveller to do? Try some of these quick fixes when you’re far from home and need to keep your cool.
Treat your feet – and your mood – with a round of reflexology. This alternative therapy is practised worldwide, and is believed to have existed in one form or another since the days of ancient Egypt. The modern version involves applying pressure to the feet, hands or ears, in spots believed to correspond to various parts of the body. Studies have found it relieves stress, and can enhance sleep and relaxation.
From Hawaiian lomi lomi massage to Ayurvedic head massage, there’s no shortage of pummelling and pampering to be had the world over. Lomi lomi massage is said to balance the body and mind; Zen Shiatsu balances the energy pathways of the body; in Thai massage, the body is compressed, pulled, stretched and rocked; Ayurvedic head massage is said to stop stress and stimulate healing; and aromatherapy massage enlivens your mood with the help of essential oils. Many airport lounges have spas with short massage treatments – the perfect pick-me-up for time-poor travellers.
Are you a travelling yogi anxious to get on the mat? More and more airports are installing yoga rooms to help you de-stress from the hassles of flight cancellations, long layovers, transport dramas and the like, with San Francisco Airport being the ringleader. Since it opened its yoga room in 2012, they have blossomed at airports in the US, and even popped up as far away as Helsinki. And late last year, London’s Heathrow trialled a pop-up yoga studio, which is reportedly set to become permanent. So pack your yoga gear and get ready for some downward dog.
If yoga is a little too active for you, why not try a meditation room? Last year San Diego Airport opened its first meditation room, so travellers can find some inner peace; and Amsterdam’s Schipol airport features a meditation and reading room. There are fundraisers afoot to establish an interfaith meditation room at Milwaulkee’s airport, and chapels and prayer rooms are available at many airports for those seeking some quiet contemplation. But you don’t need to be cemented to a cushion to find a meditative space – Singapore’s Changi airport features a butterfly grotto that is sure to lift your spirits; Dubai’s International Airport features two Zen gardens; and Vancouver’s airport features an aquarium, where you can lose yourself in an ocean reverie.
Get Into Nature
Research shows that taking a break in nature makes people feel better, behave better and become more productive. If your business doesn’t take you to an island paradise or dense forest, never fear –a walk in the park can be enough to rejuvenate the harried traveller; better, even, than a cup of coffee, some studies suggest. So see if you can walk through the park to that business meeting, schedule a walk-and-talk meeting, or take a parkside lunch break. Even the densest cities have stunning green spaces – think New York’s Central Park, London’s Hyde Park or Hong Kong Park.