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As miraculous as air travel is, engineers still haven’t figured out a way to make it so that we arrive at our destination refreshed and ready to explore. Instead we amble off the plane tired, with inflated feet and a bloated belly straining against an unforgiving waistband. Although there’s no magic bullet, these five simple pointers will set you on the path to feeling tip-top once more.
Within the first few hours of arriving in a new land, remove your shoes and take a walk. This unfettered connection between skin and soil, sand, or grass is known as “earthing” or “grounding” and studies show it can help reset your biological clock. Some health experts believe that our bodies accumulate static during a plane journey, contributing to jet lag and a general feeling of “bleh,” but by connecting with the negatively charged electrons of the earth, balance is restored.
By the time you touch down you’ve probably spent multiple hours cramped up in a too-small seat, making your body feel tight, achy, and generally antsy. If you can, unfurl a yoga mat and do some targeted poses, but any stretches that lengthen the hip flexors, hamstrings, and back will help. Basically you want to make shapes with your body that are the inverse of the C-like slump you adopted on the flight.
Instead of flopping onto the hotel bed or leisurely unpacking your vacation outfits, try to get outdoors in the sunshine as soon as possible. The fresh, un-recirculated air will clear your head, and the light naturally helps you adjust to the new time zone. If you can rally yourself for a jog or stroll to get your circulation moving, even better.
In lieu of having the foresight to pre-book a post-flight massage, pack some props to show your muscles some love. Lie on the floor with a tennis ball tucked under each shoulder and gently rock side to side, then move them a little lower, and a little lower, kneading the muscles along the spine until all the knots have begun to loosen. Follow up with a relaxing bath and you’ll feel brand new.
Junky plane dinners and the change in air pressure can leave your tummy bloated and uncomfortable. You might not feel like eating, but adhering to mealtimes in your new time zone is essential to overcoming jet lag, so opt for a light dish at the appropriate time. Avoid foods that are over-salted or fried, and drinks that are carbonated—they’ll only exacerbate the bloat—and tempting as it is to opt for a sugary pina colada, remember that water is your friend.