Long lines. Delays. Full agendas. Sometimes travel can really wear on you. And while business trips can get your wellness routine out of whack, they can also be a great time to get out of your comfort zone and focus on your social well-being. In today’s virtual world, travel presents a great opportunity to connect with co-workers, peers or strangers, something that is vital to your overall health and happiness. Whether you are seeing co-workers you don’t see often, collaborating with new acquaintances at an industry event or touring a new office with your daily cohorts, making new connections or strengthening existing ones is essential to a balanced life.
We know, we know. After a long day of meetings, sessions, speakers, not to mention all the travel, it can be hard to focus on relationships. But we are here to help! We are going to give you some quick tips for focusing on what matters for your social health, and also give you some benefits deepening your relationships can have on other aspects of your life.
Let’s start with five easy actions you can take while traveling to promote social well-being:
Be friendly and kind: This seems like a no-brainer, but it can be easy to forget when stress piles on. Think of the individual yelling at an airline rep about an uncontrollable weather situation…no one wants to be that person. When you find yourself in a stressful or uncomfortable situation, remind yourself that friendliness and kindness go a long way. Not only do these behaviors nurture relationships, but they also improve your mood and outlook for the day.
Be present: Put your phone down. You are traveling for a reason and that reason often includes people. Make sure you are present in the moment, giving your attention to the individuals in front of you. You will be more engaged and in return, get more out of your trip. If there is an urgent situation, briefly excuse yourself so you can quickly put the flame out and remove it as a distraction.
Listen so that others may speak: This phrase might sound backwards, but it’s all about actively listening to others. This does not mean listening only to formulate your response. It means creating an open and honest environment, so others feel free to express themselves.
Share a meal: Using mealtimes to catch up on emails or sleep may be enticing, but you’ll miss out on a prime opportunity to bond over breaking bread. Sharing a meal often takes the pressure off of things, allowing you to have meaningful and candid conversations.
Do something fun: Work hard, play hard is a popular statement for a reason. Life needs balance. Sprinkle in a little fun while traveling. This could be trying something new, participating in those sometimes-cheesy team building activities or celebrating closing a deal with a cocktail. Whatever it maybe, do something that makes you smile.
All of these tips sound great, but why social life so important? Studies have shown multiple links between social wellness and overall health and well-being.
- Social wellness reduces stress: Annie McKee, author of How To Be Happy At Work, says, “one of the ways we can make ourselves happy and feel more fulfilled in our workplaces is to build friendships with the people that work with us, work for us and even with our boss.” Happiness combats stress.
- A fulfilling social life decreases the chance of feelings of loneliness and depression: Human interaction and personal connections are like food and water…we need them to survive. Surrounding yourself with enriching relationships decreases feelings of anxiety, alienation and isolation.
- Emotional and social support help prevent physical health problems: According to Mayo Clinic, “Adults with strong social support have a reduced risk of many significant health problems, including depression, high blood pressure and an unhealthy body mass index (BMI).”
If your schedule is all about me-time and productivity, you may feel like your life is missing something. And you would be right. Use the tips above and start reaping the benefits of a healthy social life. It’s in our nature to share our lives with others by our side, and that should be no different while on the road.
For more information on wellness while travelling, and how to become #travelproof, visit https://www.tandtstatesman.com/travelproof