Dealing With Brain Fatigue During Business Travel

My job has been very busy lately. Whether I’m on the road or managing a big project, everything on my plate is complex and requires enormous creativity yet extreme attention to detail. By the end of every day I feel like my brain is completely empty and I don’t have anything left for my family, let alone for myself. And that goes double for travel days!

The thing is, these projects are really interesting—I’m learning a lot and I’m enjoying myself. But I can feel that I’m on a path to burnout if I don’t figure out how to recharge. After doing some research plus consulting with some wise friends, I came up with a plan.

Get as much rest as possible. Yes, it’s tempting to stay up late watching TV. But the ROI is just not there! I feel so much better the next day if I sleep that extra hour rather than watch a rerun of House Hunters at the hotel.

Go outside.  I get so caught up in work or meetings that it will be 4pm before I look up. By then I (understandably) feel grumpy and out of sorts. If I go outside for a few minutes, or better yet work for a while outside, I feel much more refreshed. (Pictured: the view from my hotel patio in Dallas.)

Don’t forget to eat. Again, I get caught up in work that I’ll miss lunch without noticing. But when I come up for air I need to eat! When I’m not in a meeting I’ll set an alarm so I don’t skip too many meals. Best case scenario I eat mostly protein and veggies, but in a pinch I’ll grab a cheese stick, granola bar, or sandwich.  I always keep bars or peanut butter crackers in my travel purse in case I’m not able to get out of the office for a meal.

Move. I feel more energized and refreshed if I work out a few times a week. Whether it’s a quick walk around the building or a yoga class in a local studio, getting my blood moving helps my brain as well as my spirit.

Spend time with friends. During busy travel times it’s so hard to find time for social activities. But as an extrovert I really need that interaction with friends. The occasional client dinner will do in a pinch but my close girlfriends are best!

Take little breaks. A break doesn’t have to be 30 full minutes. Whether it’s people watching at the airport, knitting, listening to music, or a power nap in the rental car, even five minutes of unstructured brain activity helps me recharge.

Snuggle. After a long trip full of managing minutiae nothing feels better than a big hug from one of my kiddos. Hearing their giggles is the best antidote to brain drain!

Readers, do you deal with brain fatigue during business travel? What are your tricks for dealing with it?

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