Help a road warrior stop feeling exhausted
October 23, 2012 4:48 PM   Subscribe

As a business traveler, how do I stop feeling tired all the time?

I travel 35-45 weeks of the year for business, only within the US generally to the same place for months at a time (Mon - Thurs). The only problem is, I'm always tired even when traveling to the same time zone as home (like now). On remote weeks, I sleep until 9, going to bed at 10 - same thing on the weekends. Even when onsite, I'm in bed by 10-10:30, up at 6-6:30 but I'm always exhausted.

How do I stop feeling tired all the time?
posted by lpcxa0 to Health & Fitness (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I should mention I try to exercise 2x on site, but I'm usually too tired to exercise when I'm home.
posted by lpcxa0 at 4:51 PM on October 23, 2012

I don't mean to be insulting, but it might be that you're not cut out for traveling this much. I personally could *not* do this, just thinking about that much travel is exhausting!
posted by radioamy at 4:53 PM on October 23, 2012

If you're feeling exhausted 45 weeks out of 52, I would talk to a doctor. Perhaps the excitement/'novelty' of being at home is simply masking an underlying physical issue.
posted by jacalata at 4:59 PM on October 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

You don't.

I was on the road 48-50 weeks a year for years on end, and you never don't feel tired. Everything about it is exhausting, everything about it is stressful, and that's jus the way it is. If you don't want to feel that way - which is totally understandable - you need to switch jobs.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 5:01 PM on October 23, 2012 [3 favorites]

When you're actually doing the traveling, don't do work (if possible). I find myself much more relaxed if I'm reading for pleasure on the plane or train. Otherwise work travel is like a series of really long days/nights at the office.

(This may be too off the wall, but a low carb/high protein and fat diet makes me feel more alert in general. It's hard for me while traveling, because of snickers in the hotel room fridge etc, but I bring nuts with me for snacking.)
posted by sallybrown at 5:02 PM on October 23, 2012 [2 favorites]

I commuted from SF to NY for months M-Th. Also did Chicago -NY for several months at one point. The key to me was simple. One, I would exercise in the hotel gym daily. I would try to go in the morning, but after work was ok too. It is too easy to get in the habit of going out every night. Two, I would try to eat healthy. Fruits, vegetables, etc. Avoid the sugar and the soda. Three, I would drink lots and lots of coffee.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 5:16 PM on October 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

I travel a lot for work as well but not as much as you. I find sticking to some sort of schedule while on the road works best. I exercise 4-5 days a week for about 30-60 minutes depending on how I feel but really all you need is 20 minutes of intense exercise. Do jumping jacks, squats, pushups, some ab exercises, lunge jumps, jump squats in a circuit. Have snacks throughout the day. Most likely you are not eating a proper diet (eating on the road is difficult i know- i gained 10lbs first year of this job) and it is causing large swings in your blood sugar levels. Try to have fiber and protein in everything you eat and try to stay away from processed, sugary foods. This causes a spike in insulin levels and subsequent crash. I know it's hard when you are on the road to have snacks so prepare. Have a ziplock bag with some almonds and goji berries. You can buy little packs of almond butter, stash them in your bag and have with an apple. Always eat breakfast! Try to have a routine while traveling. I scope out local Pilates studios or other gyms and restaurants before I go to a city. Or use the yelp app if you have a smart phone. It's very helpful. Find a supermarket when you get there and buy some apples and other healthy snacks that don't need refrigeration if you don't have one. Also a multivitamin every morning with food. I notice a big difference when I forget to take mine.

Good luck with your energy!
posted by Summer Fall at 5:25 PM on October 23, 2012

Thanks guys, so pretty much expect to be beat all the time, exercise as much as possible, limit work, and eat healthy? So pretty much it doesn't change from a standard 9-5?
posted by lpcxa0 at 7:57 PM on October 23, 2012

I'm not sure if my perspective will be helpful, but I traveled 3 days out of 7 for 11 years -- but then changed careers and now am on the road only once a month, for a day or two. Unfortunately, I don't feel any more rested now than I did in 2005 when I made the switch.
However, I remember feeling the best when I ate more nuts than I drank coffee (by simple volume). Coffee seemed like a corrective measure (which always failed in the long run on the road) and nuts/proteins were a well-being deposit.
posted by rubberfish at 8:09 PM on October 23, 2012

Modafinil is a godsend for this kind of thing.
posted by yellowcandy at 8:09 PM on October 23, 2012

Couple things, if possible:

-Workout in the morning
-If you're going to the same place, in the following order:
--get an apartment
--get a long term stay hotel where you need not check out
--leave a big bag of stuff each week there

This will reduce your stress of packing. At least in my experience (50 weeks a year travelling, 4 days a week).
posted by sandmanwv at 8:53 PM on October 23, 2012 [2 favorites]

Any chance you have a sleep disorder and just aren't getting rest? Can you look into that? It's what makes me tired, so perhaps I'm projecting. But, you know, maybe not.
posted by Sunburnt at 9:03 PM on October 23, 2012

My routine was/is:

No booze if possible, lots of water.
No TV after 9pm, avoid screens (monitors/phones/ipads)wherever possible after 9pm.
Work out every day.
Try to stay with the same hotel chain everywhere you go, make sure they know what you like.
Ask the manager to give you the same room when you're in town.
Eat as healthy as you can.

Get looked at by a doctor, check for apnea/etc.

Good luck, I went from 80% travel to 20% and actually view travel now as relaxing...mostly because we have a 2 year old at home.
posted by iamabot at 9:14 PM on October 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Thanks guys, so pretty much expect to be beat all the time, exercise as much as possible, limit work, and eat healthy?

Yeah, unfortunately. I traveled Monday-Wednesday 40-45 times/year for a couple of years and I would just recover by Sunday. It got so I'd sort of dread the weeks I'd stay home because I would remember what it felt like to feel better.

The one thing that did improve my quality of life was refusing to take an early flight out to the office on Monday AM. I went from getting up at 5 AM to getting up at 7 AM and that made a huge difference. I was still pretty tired, though.
posted by MarkAnd at 7:02 AM on October 24, 2012

I went back and forth to Pittsburgh every other week for a while there and it was pretty funny how it started out, and how it ended up.

When I first started, I brought everything I could think of for my comfort, lots of clothes, makeup, satellite radio, books (slightly before ereaders), magazines, etc. I'd check a bag and schlep as much in carryons as I could.

Then I pared it down to one bag. Because I was getting a workout just dragging all that shit through Hartsfield (just getting to your gate is a marathon).

One cabin bag. That's it. I did a mix, match outfit that required only the shoes I wore on the plane.

I too took the 10:00 AM flight up, no need to wake up at dawn to be in Pittsburgh at 9. After lunch worked just as well.

If I could arrange it, I'd work from the room until about 10, then head out for appointments. No rush getting ready, enjoyed coffee and breakfast in the room, and felt fresh as a daisy in time to take a customer to lunch.

I'd get back to the room at around 4, do my email and calls, and then knock off at around 5:30 to hang out with my cousin.

It's about pace. The actual travel isn't a bonus the company gets from you. Time on the plane is MY time. Books, snoozing, chatting with other passengers, whatever it is.

It's too easy when you travel for work to be in work mode from the moment you leave for the airport until the moment you get home on Friday night. It's not fair, and you have to impose strict boundaries on it.

Also, lots of veggies, no alcohol and only one cup of coffee in the morning.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:35 AM on October 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

« Older Tokyo flea market this weekend   |   Chicken salad, on rye, untoasted...and a cup of... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.