A High-Flying Guide to Arriving Well

By Jean Grant

Illustrations by Tom Froese

Over the past decade, the notion of being kind to oneself has become more than smoothie bowl shots and affirmations on Instagram. The industry has seen a major shift from focusing primarily on diet and exercise to a broader sense of well- being, and with it, a slew of new products and services. And there’s serious research to back up buzzwords like “mindfulness” and “gratitude.” Scientists now have a better understanding of the detrimental effects of stress on our health. But why not experience the best of both worlds — wellness while travelling? Here’s a guide to a couple of wellness practices from the pros that will ease tension no matter what stage you’re at in your journey. 

Lady up flying up in the clouds with luggage

Soak up the H20

Hydration is the most important factor to consider when you’re on a plane, says Dr. Ashley James, a naturopathic doctor in Toronto whose clients include the Toronto Maple Leafs and the International Ice Hockey Federation. “It’s essential to stay hydrated on the flight, [but] leading up to your trip, you should be drinking up to two-and-a-half litres of water per day and incorporating foods with high water content [cucumber, melon, celery] into your diet.” She also reminds travellers to bring a large bottle to fill up, post-security-check, and to ask for a top-up during the flight. Ultimately, staying hydrated can prevent catching a cold — when you’re dehydrated, the nasal passages can dry up and crack, making it easier for viruses and bacteria to take hold. Use a saline nasal spray or swipe some coconut oil on a cotton swab to line the inside of your nose to keep it moisturized. 

Boy with a striped long sleeve drinking a water bottle

Soothing aromas

Another way to zone out and Zen in onboard is with essential oils. Psychotherapists Carolyn Plater and Stephanie Kersta’s advice is to bring along relaxing aromatic oil you regularly use at home. While the long-term benefits of aromatherapy are still a matter of debate, certain scents do trigger immediate positive emotional responses. “We now know that there’s a scent memory, and your brain connects certain scents with specific places, feelings and emotions,” Plater notes. Rubbing a few drops of lavender, chamomile or bergamot oil between your palms and then inhaling the fragrance deeply can have an instantly calming effect. 

Red hair lady meditating up in the sky

No need to arrive at your destination feeling fatigued and stressed out. Use your time on the plane to indulge in self-care, clear your head, stay healthy and get centred. You’ll be well equipped to deal with whatever awaits you.

*Find this article in our issue of re:porter magazine issue 74 out now!