Travel Series Part 3: Time Changing
I love to travel, seeing new places around the world, but when it comes to the actual traveling part I'm not the best at it. Since I don't want to stay home I've developed routines that make traveling easier for me. This three part series will cover everything from preparing to leave to time changing at the destination. Part three is about time changing.
Once I arrive in London I want to hit the ground running and soak up everything I can in the time that I have there. Until jet lag hits and I want to curl up in a ball and go to sleep at 3pm, or even earlier. (Since I live in California London is eight hours ahead.) England being the land of tea it's tempting to heavily caffeinate in order to make it through, but that doesn't work for me. What does is following a routine and identifying the pattern of how I am likely to feel from day to day based on previous trips.
Day of Arrival - Once I've gotten through customs the first thing I do is head to the Cafe Nerro near the arrivals point and get some tea and a snack. It's usually around 2:30 or 3pm at this point and I'm feeling elated, exhausted, and shaky. The caffeine from the tea helps stave off the exhaustion and the ritual signals to my body that it's mid afternoon, since I normally have tea around this time every day. Once that's done I head into the city and check into my hotel. I do a little unpacking and maybe get outside for a walk. The main thing is to stay awake instead of sinking into bed. Even if I only close my eyes for an hour it becomes almost impossible to drag myself out of bed for dinner.
I allow myself to have dinner on the early side, but no earlier than 6pm. I try to choose something healthy. Good Life Eatery is one of my favorite places to go. On the way back to the hotel I stop at a grocery store and get some supplies - berries, nuts, sunflower seeds, and plain yogurt - in case I get hungry before breakfast is open. Then I force myself to stay awake until 10pm. It's hard because I really want to sleep, but if I can manage it'll really help.
Day One - Ideally I try to stay in bed until 7 or 8am, but I've often woken up at 5 or 6am ravenous and unable to stay in bed any longer. That's where the snacks come in. They allow me to wait until 7:30 or 8am for breakfast.
Today I will feel weird all day, like I'm out of sync and sleep deprived. I will be hungry at odd times. Eating will sometimes make me feel better and sometimes make me feel worse. By 2 or 3pm I will not be able to resist a nap and getting up after an hour will suck. Doing my best to stick to regular meal times helps. And ordering tea as room service if I really can't get myself out of bed in the afternoon is a treat, while the caffeine will wake me up enough to get through the rest of the day.
Day Two - I will often sleep ok on the first night and not well at all the second. So day two often feels like a step backwards. Spending time outside helps. The afternoon dip won't be quite as bad. Staying awake until 10pm is really important as I will want to fall asleep at 8pm.
Day Three - This is usually the hardest day. I will feel awful for an hour in the mid morning, usually while I'm out doing something. Finding a spot to sit and ride it out usually works. But if I can make it through today things will get better. That's my mantra the whole day. Just stick to the routine of regular meal times and staying awake until 10pm and things will get better.
The days after this vary. I've had trips where everything is fine after day three and trips where I found myself always wanting to go to bed early and wake up early. It will often take a full week to time change completely. But the first three days are the hardest and set the tone for the rest of the trip. If I can really stick to my routine and relax I time change and feel better faster. If I allow myself to nap longer or go to bed earlier I time change more slowly and it takes me longer to feel like myself.
Do you have trouble time changing when you travel? What do you do to handle the transition?
Photo by Sophia Dunkin-Hubby