How to be at Your Best While Traveling

Last week I was on business travel and stayed in a midtown hotel in a large city the entire week. Staying fit and maintaining a healthy diet is a challenge when traveling. Here are some tips to help you maintain your fitness, eat well, and enjoy your trip more when you’re away from home:

1) Improvise an exercise routine. If you are limited in what you can pack, be sure to pack comfortable walking shoes. You can wear them for exercise, for meetings, and for going out. If the place you’re staying does not have a gym or has a limited gym, you can exercise in your room using a high-intensity interval training such as the New York Times’ Scientific Seven-Minute Workout.

2) Visit a local grocery store or market. Some fruits keep well, even without refrigeration. Apples, bananas, and oranges can keep a few days without being refrigerated. Ask your concierge for directions to the nearest grocery store or even better, visit a local market, and stock up on fresh fruits, nuts, and other healthy food choices early in your trip. Visiting a local market will not only give you access to the freshest locally grown foods, you’ll also soak up some of the culture of the place you’re visiting.

3) Practice Radical Acceptance. Most importantly, it’s a good attitude that makes the biggest difference in staying at our best when we’re away from home. When traveling, the truth is you will probably eat in ways you don’t usually eat, not be able to enjoy your usual exercise routine, and maybe not sleep as well being in a different bed perhaps in a different time zone. But it is also equally true that you will quickly return to your familiar routine when you’re back home. Rather than lamenting what you’re missing from home, embracing the concept of radical acceptance would have you accept what you cannot change and enjoy the positive aspects of travel – exploring new places, meeting new people, learning new things that will make you better for the experience when you return home.IMAG0360

Sleep is Essential

We all know how we feel when we don’t get a good night’s sleep. Research has shown that getting a good night’s sleep not only makes us feel better, it can also help ward off disease, guard against obesity and diabetes, and improve learning and mental functioning.

There is some debate in the scientific community about whether the brain is pruning synaptic connections during sleep or strengthening these connections. However, there is agreement that sleep is essential.

So how can you get a better night’s sleep? Here are my top 3 tips:

1) Have a consistent wake time. Get up at the same time every day with no sleeping in on the weekends. This will help your body and mind get on a sleep schedule. And no worries – you have most likely done this before, when you had to get up at a certain time for school, for work, etc.

2) Turn off electronic media and do something relaxing before going to bed. Electronic media (TV, computers, cell phones, games) stimulate us and use light, which signals waking rather than sleeping. An hour before bed, turn off your electronics and do something soothing, quiet, and relaxing.

3) Get enough sleep. Most adults need 7-9 hours sleep per night throughout the adult lifespan. Many of us short change ourselves by skimping on sleep. Using your wake time, calculate when you need to go to bed in order to get 7-9 hours sleep per night. Don’t go to bed until you feel sleepy, even if that is after your earliest bedtime. With consistency, your body and mind will learn to become sleepy at your bedtime and to wake around your wake time.

Need more help with sleep? Contact Dr. Vance at

Seven Things You Can Do To Improve Your Overall Well-Being

Want to have more energy, feel more mentally alert, and enjoy better relationships? Here are 7 things you can do now to improve your overall health and well-being:

1) Eat a high nutrient, low-calorie diet.* The standard American diet, which is high in sugar, fat, and artificial ingredients is a recipe for long-term health problems. Instead, focus on non-processed foods that are high in health-giving nutrients and can help fight disease. To learn more, check out Eat to Live or view the films Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead or Forks Over Knives.

2) Exercise regularly.* Even those who exercise often do not get enough exercise to make a difference in their overall health and well-being. The CDC recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity plus muscle strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups on at least 2 days per week. You may find that adding variety to your workouts (swimming, cycling, crossfit, group classes, etc.) can help you meet these goals.

3) Get a good night’s sleep. We all know how we feel when we don’t get a good night’s sleep. Research has shown that getting a good night’s sleep not only makes us feel better, it can also help ward off disease, guard against obesity and diabetes, and improve learning and mental functioning.

4) Attend to relationships. Relationships require our attention. We must make time to connect with others, learn to repair hurts in relationships, and build positive relationship experiences with others in our lives. Research has shown that close relationships with others is one of the keys to authentic happiness.

5)  Have a healthy spiritual life. Recent scientific evidence has shown positive religious and spiritual practices and beliefs can have a positive impact on a variety of health outcomes. However, negative religious beliefs, such as the belief that God is angry with you, can have a negative impact on health. To learn more, read the work of Dr. Ken Pargament.

6) Find work you love. As the old saying goes, find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life. The key to making a good career choice is to find work that suits who you are, doing what is possible for you, and providing a product or service that meets a demand. Get started with this quick guide.

7) Attend to your finances. Avoid debt. Live below your means. Save wisely. These are not new principles, they are age-old, proven principles for effectively managing one’s finances and building real wealth while avoiding the stress that comes with financial challenges.

Most of us have some idea that each of these areas are important, but we often struggle to act on them because we don’t have the skills we need to be successful or because emotional obstacles get in our way. If you struggle in these areas contact BreakForth counseling today – we can help!

*Consult with your doctor before beginning a new diet or exercise program.