wellness

maintaining mental + physical health on the road

This one goes out to all my touring friends or friends that travel a lot! It’s super fun, but it can get tough out there.

Since March, I’ve almost consistently been on the road – whether working tours or just traveling for other work or on vacation. From living in a van across the Southeast with 4 boys, to hostels in Europe, to 5 star hotels in Hawaii. Although I love traveling constantly, it can take a toll on your health after a while – mentally and psychically. Behind all of my traveling Instagram photos of me having fun there is a 50% chance that I’m exhausted.

While it seems super glamorous being ~ on the road ~ or always waking up in a different place (sometimes it is, sometimes you’re sleeping in Walmart parking lots in the middle of nowhere) it can be really hard on your body and your mind and can affect some people worse than others. It is soooo crucial to make sure you’re taking care of yourself while still enjoying your job/trip. A recent study by Help Musicians UK found that over 60% of musicians have suffered from depression or other psychological issues, with touring an issue for 71% of people.

I reached out to some of my touring friends and asked for their best tips to stay sane on the road to mix in with some of my own:

Mentally:

Checking in back home: While in a “tour bubble” or traveling for extended periods of time, it can be easy to forget what your real life is like. For some people who are gone a lot, leaving family and loved ones behind can leave you with feelings of guilt for not being there or leave people homesick. Keeping in contact with significant others, friends and family while on the road can help. Trying to avoid isolating and disconnecting from your home life when touring can also help you stay grounded.

Journaling: It’s easy to forget what you did the day before, not know what day it is, lose track of where you are or where you’re going. Write it down! It’s also hard to get alone time (unless you’re traveling solo) so a journal is a good way to get to know your thoughts when you’re alone.

Get in a routine: Waking up in a different place every day can be a huge stress trigger on some people (while some people love it!). It can be really helpful to establish a routine – every morning wake up, eat a good breakfast if you can, and listen to a podcast or audiobook or video that you like. This can get your head set for the day and can create some stability in an unstable environment. My personal favorite tip right now: the past few months I’ve been carrying lavender spray with me on every trip, trying to train my mind that when I smell it, it signals that it’s time for bed. It can seem silly – but when you sleep in different places every night, it can be hard to fall asleep – especially when the places are a random motel on the side of the road or on the floor with 5 dudes. Training your brain to associate smells with an action (sleep) helps. I like this one  (but make sure to get a smaller TSA approved size for flying if you take a carry on!!!) Lavender oil is also known to reduce anxiety and emotional stress, improve brain function, aid sleep, reduce headaches – all of the top things I struggle with away from home.

Alone time: This was the biggest thing my touring friends said helped them. This can be laying in your bunk and shutting the curtain in the middle of the day, taking a walk — take some time to disconnect from your phone and work to ease with anxious thoughts. I like to take my alone time while the band is soundchecking and go on a walk or lay down in the van.

Talk about it!! If you’re feeling off, let someone around you know. Tell the band you’re working with – everyone has off days and it’s okay. There is nothing to be ashamed of. While it is still a job, people around you are there for you and care for you. Text someone back home you know is there to listen and get it off your chest. There are also services such as Talkspace  where you can set up remote sessions with licensed therapists.

Physically:

Supplements: You guys already know I love my supplements. They’re even more crucial while on the road, as you’re most likely not getting the same amount of nutrients from food as you would cooking at home. A multivitamin is definitely essential. If you’re on prescription meds, DON’T FORGET THEM! If you’re going on the road for a while, ask your pharmacist about a vacation fill so you don’t have to worry about finding a pharmacy while on the road. Ginseng is an adaptogen – which means that it aids the body’s adjustment to unusual physical and mental stress. It also helps with physical stamina – all v important things on the road! Here’s a more detailed post on the supplements I take from care/of – they even come in pre packaged packets for you which are perfect for traveling. Use the code FLYNN25 for 25% off your order here.

Eat well: This sounds like a no-brainer buuuut if you could see how some people I’ve been on the road with eat… and then complain they don’t feel good.. Your gut health is linked to your mental health as well, so it’s important to remember that. I have a snacking while roadrtipping habit, which is super inconvenient when you’re literally living in a van/bus on a roadtrip. I try to never buy unhealthy snacks to keep in the van so that I’m not tempted to sit and eat them all at once haha. If you’re someone who loves junk food, constant stops at gas stations can be tempting – try and make one healthier snack choice day by day, every little thing can help! If you’re someone who gets hangovers easily, don’t get wasted every night. Cut out beer (so many calories) and stick to liquor. I love throwing in Kombucha or a healthy juice as a mixer with liquor.

Pedialyte: Yep, the same stuff you drank as a baby. This is an essential item on Warped Tour or outdoor festivals. Replenishes your electrolytes quicker than water or gatorade. I like the clear kind because it has no unnatural dyes in it. Also – makes a great mixer… a pedialyte vodka on the rocks after a long day is the way to go. Keeps you hydrated while you still can drink and have fun. Trust me.

EMERGENC!! I swear by this – I’ve even started throwing it in as a mixer in my gin + tonics. Take it at the FIRST sign of starting to feel shitty. Being so close to so many people, everyone you’re with has a risk of getting sick.

Exercise: It’s important to get moving, especially on drive days. Walk around the gas station, do some stretches in your bunk (if you’re small enough like me haha). Planet Fitness has a Black Card that lets you get in any location – they also have SHOWERS!! which can be the highlight of a day on tour (wild life right!). A lot of my guy friends like to bring dumbbells or smaller weights with them. If it’s a longer stretch and you know you’ll have downtime, yoga mats are small and easy to travel with. Find a park at a rest stop or somewhere near by and take some time to relieve tension from sitting for long periods of time and then standing for long periods of time. If you have time, check out the deals on local yoga studios around the town you’re parked in – lots of places offer the first class for free!

SLEEP: This one is so easy to know you need, but it can be so hard – who wants to sleep when every night you’re in a new city and every night there’s a party? Or you’re only on vacation for a certain amount of days and want to live every moment to the fullest? This is where it’s sooo important to listen to your body. You’ll feel so much better. Most of the time I’ll feel super lame going to bed early or not drinking one night, then I remember that if I don’t get enough sleep my mental health gets really bad. It’s all about finding a good balance!

 

I’m finally home in Charleston for a little bit, but writing this got me pumped to hit the road again – I’l be on tour in August, September, October, and November. I hope some of these will help you and if anyone has any more tips – send them my way! Stay happy and healthy out there.

19 Comments

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