Sometimes life at home can be as hectic as a day at the office -- from managing kids’ school activities, to coaching their sports teams, to social engagements and DIY projects around the house. While business travel interrupts (and sometimes complicates) your after-hours routine, I’ve found that it can also offer opportunities to rest, rejuvenate and return home a better, more refreshed version of yourself.
Here are a few ways to take advantage of those opportunities -- and turn your time on the road into time for yourself.
1. A night in at the hotel
After a busy round of meetings, spending your evening at the hotel can be a great stress reliever. Many hotels offer a pool and hot tub for guests, along with spa/salon packages and room service. Go ahead and indulge yourself a little. Get a massage. Have your nails done. Get a fresh haircut. Cap off the evening with a relaxing swim and soak in the hot tub.
2. Catch up on your favorite shows
Having a night or two at the hotel in sole control of the television remote -- or the streaming service on your laptop or tablet -- is a great way to catch up on your favorite shows without interruptions. I like to binge watch great episodic TV like Veep and Homeland when I’m on the road or unwind by listening to my favorite podcasts. After a couple of hotel nights, I'm all caught up and can focus my time back home on family and friends.
3. Change up your workout
If you’re like me, you probably squeeze in your routine workouts between day-to-day commitments at home. When traveling, you can often use the time before and after that big meeting to try a new exercise routine. While most hotels have gyms that offer free weights and treadmills, many also offer yoga and other fitness classes you can try during your stay. If you’re a runner, ask the concierge to recommend a nearby running trail and explore your surroundings while fitting in your long run for the week. My favorite place for a long run is along the wharf in San Francisco -- it’s a great way to get some exercise while enjoying the mild Bay temps and a fantastic view of the city.
4. Get out and explore
When you’re on the road several times a month, it’s easy to forget that business travel often takes us to some of the best cities in the world. So avoid the temptation to hunker down and work the night away in your hotel room and get out and explore your surroundings. When I used to travel 12+ times a year, I tried to catch a minor league baseball game in every city I visited. When in New York, I forego a sit-down dinner, grab a slice of pizza instead and take a walk around Manhattan to relax at the end of a long day of meetings. Exploring a new city -- or a familiar city in a new way -- can clear your head and add some fun to your business travels.
5. Or, just get some sleep
On the other hand, when your work is done for the day, there’s no rule that says you have to do anything at all. So consider exercising your right to do absolutely nothing. Hang the “do not disturb” sign on the door, unpack everything you’ll need for the morning and set a double wake up call to avoid any nagging anxiety about missing your alarm. Then close the curtains (I like to fasten them shut with the hotel’s clothes hanger clips so it’s completely dark) and take the opportunity to go to bed early for a peaceful, uninterrupted night of sleep. Your body and mind will thank you when you come to the next morning’s business meeting that much more alert, focused and productive.
No doubt, you’ve found other ways to relax and recharge. Seizing these opportunities when they arise is the key to finding your own brand of rejuvenation on the road.