I’m just back from an incredible work trip to the United Arab Emirates for the Abu Dhabi Science Festival. I was working with the Edinburgh International Science Festival on a project to train university graduates in science communication and lead them to deliver interactive workshops to young children at the festival.
It was a hugely successful project and I am so grateful for the opportunity to meet and work with such an enthusiastic team of people who made it fun and memorable. I’ve never traveled as far for work or had to work so intensely with a team who were practically strangers before I flew out. I was understandably nervous about the new role and the new place, but I had a few things in place to make it all a little easier as well as a new app I’d started using before I left –
Take your home comforts with you
I packed my Twinings Earl Grey tea and Alpro unsweetened soya milk in my suitcase so as soon as I got to the hotel I could make myself a cuppa and settle in. I don’t function without my tea so I need to know I can always make myself one, wherever I am in the world.
Start to settle into your new time zone when you travel
As soon as I step on the plane I set my watch to the time of where we’re going to. If it’s night time I’ll sleep, if it’s a mealtime I’ll eat, so that when I arrive my body is more in sync with the time zone.
Set up a little yoga/fitness/calm zone in your new space
I didn’t have the space or thought to pack a yoga mat or any fitness tools in my suitcase, but I did create a little wellness space at the end of my bed in the hotel room. I could lay down a towel and pop up my tablet to play a Fitness Blender or Yoga with Adrien YouTube video.
Make time for keeping in touch with loved ones at home
With working hours of 8am until 10pm and a 4 hour difference in time zone, I thought I would struggle to keep in touch with Nige, friends and family at home, but you work with what you’ve got and between early morning and late night Whatsapp and Skype calls we managed.
Switch off from work using mindfulness
Before I flew, I had downloaded and started practicing clearing my mind before bed using the Buddhify app. It’s super simple, you just select a track depending on your current situation – maybe that’s sleeping, traveling, on a work break, walking – and press play. Each track is a dedicated time to focus on yourself without distraction and I found it so useful to send me off to sleep when I was away, especially as I’d got used to doing so before I left.
The on-the-go mindfulness app Buddhify is available to download on iOS and Android via Google Play. As well as podcasts, the app has become my go-to for walks to the gym or short errands, when I’d usually be distracting myself with social media or online shopping. The options of different tracks are endless and I’m still working my way through them to find my favourite.
Do you use a mindfulness app or another technique to help you focus? switch off? breathe? sleep? wake up? Let me know if you try Buddhify and we can share our favourites together.