Everyone seems to love a good click bait-y title like “How to Beat Jet Lag in 5 Easy Ways” but come on…there is nothing easy about beating jet lag. I usually have the worst time recovering from international travel because I’m big on routines and generally a baby if I can’t sleep. Just ask Jared how annoying it was dealing with me after our trip to London last year. (Since most of you can’t ask him I’ll just say that it may or may not have taken me three weeks to recover. YEAH.) Anyway, I’m writing this post because recovering from jet lag and a 16-hour time difference in just 5 days was a huge accomplishment for me. I hope it helps anyone who also finds it difficult to return from an international trip!
No naps! (And other sleep tips.)
I learned this one the hard way. I gave in and slept whenever I wanted to after London which is why it took me forever to recover. If possible, try not to sleep on the plane home if it will mess up your schedule when you land. I only took a brief nap on my flight back from Tokyo because I knew that when I landed in Seattle, it would be early evening. I ended up finishing a whole Stephen King novel and watching a few movies! After getting take out, I got ready for bed at a normal hour and passed out!
The next day I immediately went back to work but decided to work from home. Unfortunately I gave in and took a 3 hour nap. To prevent myself from napping during the work day again I went into the office and it actually really helped. The rest of the week I would tire myself out all day so that by the time it was a normal hour to sleep, I would be exhausted. Many people recommended Melatonin to me but frankly it didn’t seem to affect me. I would definitely try it though if you feel like you need some help sleeping. (And on flights I usually ask for some wine although plane wine is probably the worst wine you can have.)
My other tip is to make your sleeping situation as comfortable as possible. I always sleep with these earplugs and they block out almost everything. Believe me when I say that because I live next to a bar that turns into a club every night, haha. I also use an eye mask if my room isn’t dark enough and I always sleep better when I use my Casper pillows. They’re kind of pricey for pillows but I love how they are thick, cushy, but not too soft.
Have healthy foods on a normal eating schedule.
Travel days don’t count which is why I treated myself to Chipotle for dinner the night I landed. But you should definitely try to eat healthy afterwards because it helps your body feel less sluggish! I didn’t have any fresh fruit in Japan because it’s so expensive there so I made a lot of smoothies when I came back and would have bananas every day as a snack. I also upped the amount of veggies I ate because I’m usually feeling pretty deprived by the time I come back from vacation. Plus, my mama told me to.
Eating on a normal schedule is super important as well. Even if you’re not eating all health foods, make sure you stick to a normal breakfast/lunch/dinner schedule. I know you might not be hungry at normal times but it helps train your body to revert back to your time zone. Something that helped when I would wake in the middle of the night was to drink some water that I kept by my bed. Usually that would help my cravings for a snack but if you really must eat something, try to have something light so you can go back to sleep.
Exercise and be active.
Lots of people recommended exercise as a way to recover from jet lag! I’m going to be honest…exercise is not my favorite and I’ve been really bad at consistently doing it. I just couldn’t bring myself to do any intense exercise the week after my trip but I did try to walk a lot. I would walk several miles a day just from my commute, going on walks during the work day, and at night to get groceries or see friends. So if a SoulCycle class isn’t your speed, just getting up and walking around is still helpful. I also found that getting up and walking away from my desk helped me when I felt the urge to nap coming on!
Soothe your muscles and give your body extra care.
Aside from the mental exhaustion that comes with returning from a vacation, there’s the frustration when you’re struggling to adjust to a time zone and normal routine. Then add the physical exhaustion that your body feels from the trip itself, traveling home, and catching up on everything once you are back. I know I definitely felt strained and like I needed a vacation after my vacation!
Prior to my trip I had been invited to visit Penelope and the Beauty Bar, which is Seattle’s premier spa, located in the Fairmont Olympic Hotel. I live just a few minutes away from this gorgeous hotel so at the end of the work week I headed here to have a pampering session. If you follow me on Instagram then you know I regularly get massages and get facials now and then as well. They’re normally more of a maintenance thing in my eyes so I was thrilled to go to a more upscale spa for some luxurious services.
Penelope and the Beauty Bar – The Ritual Package
I chose The Ritual package which is 180 minutes and $299. As soon as I read the description of the service I was sold. I won’t skirt around the fact that it is a few hundred dollars but for the quality of the services, the absolutely professional staff, and gorgeous spa I think this is actually very reasonable. The package is definitely a way to save than if you were to book each service individually as well. This would be the perfect gift for Mother’s Day, a birthday, or just to treat yourself to once in a while. I’ll let the Penelope website do all the talking about what The Ritual is all about:
Relax and unwind with our full body treatment designed to alleviate stress, renew complexion and reawaken the senses. Begin with an infrared jade sauna session. The Recover massage soothes tense muscles, followed by our invigorating Restore facial.
The Recover massage is 80 minutes and the therapist will focus on any tension issues you have as well working on your whole body. I like deep tissue massages so I explained that and showed my therapist where exactly I needed some extra attention. You guys…the 80 minutes went by so quickly because I was so incredibly relaxed. This was one of the best massages I have ever gotten. It was exactly what I asked for and more, the music was soothing, my therapist was really professional, and most of all my body felt completely rejuvenated after just this one service. The next day was when I started feeling completely back to normal because I was definitely carrying some stress in my shoulders, neck, and back.
The infrared jade sauna is a super interesting experience. I had seen a viral Facebook video about these jade-lined pods so I was excited to try it for myself. Basically you lie inside the pod, head outside, and just let the pod do all the work. There’s a red light that makes the pod very hot – I think mine was up to 118 degrees by the time I got out. The pod helps burn calories, strengthen your immune system, improve lymphatic circulation, etc. It was the one part of my package that I couldn’t exactly see results from immediately so it was my least favorite part, but I still had fun experiencing it.
Lastly the Restore facial I had was so amazing. The facials I normally get are great for maintenance and they’re nice and quick. This was a completely different experience that I would absolutely do again to do a really deep clean. I saw Angelina who was an absolute joy to work with. I told her how I just came back from an international trip and my skin was really clogged. She literally transformed my skin as much as you can in one session because my skin looked and felt SO much cleaner. My favorite part is that she used Biologique Recherche products. They are definitely smelly which takes some getting used to but they’re incredible. I see why they have a cult-like following!
Everyone has different methods to help them cope with jet lag so I love to crowdsource tips. I would definitely recommend that if you’re not finding success with what you’re doing because that really helped me! Good luck!
Disclosure: I was treated to complimentary services by Penelope and the Beauty Bar in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.