by David Oscar: Meditating frequently even when you are traveling allows you to keep improving your mental health. Here’s how you can keep following your meditation routine even while you’re on the go…
Following through with your meditation routine when at home can sometimes be quite hectic for most people.
You have work you have to do, your personal life to attend to and your family too, and these things can easily give you a good enough excuse to not practice meditation.
Now imagine, if it can be a bit difficult for you to meditate when at home, how much more difficult does it get when you are traveling?
You get thrown completely off your daily schedule and carrying your luggage from one point to the other, dealing with hotel rooms and accommodations as well as taxis and flights can easily make you drop your practice through that period.
But it shouldn’t be that way.
For you to remain calm, composed, mentally, and emotionally stable, you have to stick to your daily self-improvement practice so that when you go back home, it isn’t hard for you to keep going.
Here, we will have a much closer look at how you can maintain your meditation practice as you travel through proper planning, commitment, and maximizing the time and other resources you have at your disposal as you travel.
Reasons Why It’s Hard to Keep Meditating When Traveling
To understand how we can stick more to our meditation practices, we first need to look at why we often find it difficult to make them work so that we comprehend the root causes of our challenge here.
There are so many reasons why people are not able to keep meditating while they are on the move, either on holidays or even on business trips. Some of these reasons include:
- Having a busy schedule – Some of us tend to have busy schedules. If we are traveling for business, we might have lots of things we have to attend to, that make us barely have time to meditate. For those of us who take vacations, we also feel like we need such a long relaxation period where we don’t do anything we are used to in our schedules at home or work, including meditation so that we can fully rest our minds and bodies.
- Not having a proper plan for your activities – There are times we don’t spare a few minutes to make proper plans for our activities and see where we can accommodate our self-improvement practices. This is the best example of the saying that goes, “Fail to plan. Plan to fail” as lacking a planned approach to the activities as you travel increases confusion, makes you less fulfilled, and weighs you down completely.
- Unexpected challenges – At times, we may have made our plans and even planned to meditate throughout our travel but emergencies and unplanned problems come up. This ends up distorting our plan and makes us take a different direction that barely allows us to have time for ourselves. For example, if you get arrested for not following a certain law in the country you traveled to, which you didn’t know well about, it changes your whole experience and plan. The same case applies if you fall sick.
- Getting soaked in the travel too much – When the experience becomes much more interesting than you thought and you discover you can get to explore more intriguing areas and activities where you traveled, you can easily decide to forego your meditation sessions for more fun. Almost everyone has fallen into this temptation at some point in their lives.
- Procrastination – In the same breath, you might choose to have more fun and meditate later. However, when “later” comes, something else comes up and you fail to meditate. And if you let this happen for more than 2 days, you will naturally lose interest in meditation and come to realize that a week or more is over and you have never sat for even a single session of meditation.
- Short travels – Some people may travel for 2 or 3 days only and they may feel like this is such a short time to enjoy themselves that they wouldn’t even think of setting aside a few minutes for meditation. In their minds, they tell themselves, “I’ll just meditate when I come back.
- Long and complicated meditation practices – Some people have complex meditation practices that require them to spare a long period to do the practice in its entirety. Some meditation enthusiasts spend 1 hour or more meditating and this is okay if it is something you feel works well for you. However, when it comes to traveling, it becomes hard to allocate the same amount of time and end up leaving it out of your schedule altogether.
These and many others, are reasons why we travel and come back without having spent time to better our minds, bodies, and spirits.
Factors to Consider When Customizing Your Meditation Routine as You Travel
Now that we have seen the reasons that stop us from doing our meditation practice while we are on the go, we should now look at how we can reduce these reasons and seek to meditate more.
The best approach is to try to customize the meditation practice we work with in order to get it to align with the whole travel and make it easy for us to meditate, on top of being seriously committed to the practice.
Customizing our routines not only makes it better for us to achieve the goal of our travel but also ensures smooth progress as it just fits in the travel which makes it possible to work with it without having to stretch ourselves too much.
To make good customization, there are certain factors we need to keep in mind. These factors include:
- How long you’ll be away. This factor revolves around how many days, weeks, or months you will be gone. This is important because it will help you become mentally prepared for the changes you will be making in your routine and be ready for it throughout your travel.
- How much free time you think you can spare. This crucial factor helps you have a clear understanding of how much time you are likely to have for yourself which you can dedicate to your practice as well as rest and sleep. Your free time is what you will most likely use for meditation so knowing how much it is will help you decide how much time of it you will use to meditate and how much more you will use for the other activities you may want to get involved in too.
- The most likely problems to occur during the trip. It is true that we can never really plan accurately for something bad that might happen.
However, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have a rough estimate of its effect on our lives and how we can work around it. Life is never a smooth journey and we don’t always get to achieve what we have planned for ourselves exactly as we did. This means we should account for any problems along the way.
Some of the common problems are getting sick, having issues with your travel documents and other travel-related issues, getting late to various destinations, and new emergency tasks we have to take care of which will cost more of our time, just to name a few.
Here, it is important to think about the problems you have experienced in the past while traveling and try to come with vague but useful solutions that might help you solve the problems and get you back to following your routine and travel plan as a whole.
- Any other factors unique to you that you feel might have an effect. Since we are all different, it is also helpful to think about other factors that might keep you from having to meditate, as an individual. The ones we have looked at are general but going a step forward to looking at individual-based factors will help you have a much better approach to customizing your routine and increase your chances of succeeding in making it work.
Creating a Custom Meditation Routine Based on Your Travel
When it comes to creating your custom meditation routine for an upcoming trip, you should now take the factors we discussed above and see how each of them affects you and create a routine that makes it possible and easy for you to keep meditating without having to struggle too much.
While I can’t give an example of a meditation routine that will fit everyone’s travel plan (since there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to personal development), there are certain features that your routine should have if it is to have higher chances of success.
You should ensure that:
- Your routine is short. If you have been doing it for more than 30 minutes every day, try to keep it under 10 to 20 minutes so that you have time for other activities. If you have been meditating for 5 to 10 minutes, reduce it to 2 to 5 minutes.
- Your routine is fun and reminds you of why you began meditation in the first place. You can try to refresh your mind on why you chose to begin meditation and the benefits you hope to get from it. These two will encourage you to meditate more.
- Your routine fits in with the nature of your travel. If you are going for a vacation, seek to make your routine blend in with the activities you will be having there. For instance, you can choose to meditate on the beach if you will be going to places with huge water bodies like oceans. You can also choose to meditate under a tree for a few minutes if you will be going on a wild safari. You get the idea.
- Your routine is flexible. Keeping in mind that not all things will go your way, you should be ready to accept if something happens that keeps you from meditating and eagerly seek to look for an opportunity to meditate to replace the missed session.
- Your routine is well spread out over the period you will be traveling. Some people choose to meditate every day and that is okay. However, if you would like to meditate a couple of days a week, you should make sure that your sessions are well distributed in your week so that you keep the momentum even in your final days before coming back home.
On top of that, here are some other tips you should remember for more rewarding results:
- Create the mood for meditation by carrying noise cancellation headphones, meditation scents, candles, and even a cloth you’ll sit on as you meditate.
- Meditate at different times of the day instead of the hours you normally meditate when you’re at home as it carries benefits with it.
- Consciously decide to remain committed to your practice and stick to it. Build meditation fire within you and keep it burning for you to experience the benefits.
- Avoid getting into activities like taking alcohol and drugs, or even overeating which you know will make it hard for you to sit for meditation when you have planned.
- After meditation, try to spill the meditative mental state into your other activities as it also helps to improve your overall experience of life.
- When you have the chance, try observing your breath for a couple of minutes and remaining aware of your thoughts and feelings as you get into various tasks throughout your day.
- Listen to meditation podcasts, watch videos, use meditation apps, and even read a few meditation books when you get the time to remind you of the benefits of meditation and motivate you, even more, to keep meditating.
- Consider making use of walking meditation as you are traveling on foot. This will ground you in awareness, and help you be wakeful and relaxed.
- If there is a local meditation center or yoga studio within the locality, you can visit it during your meditation period and do your practice there.
In essence, it all begins with dedication and commitment to your daily practice.
Always remembering why you got into the routine you are working with in the first place, as well as the benefits you get from doing it daily, helps you keep going regardless of the surrounding circumstances.
Also, understanding how your travel is going to be like, generally, and the periods of rest you are going to have which you can spare for meditation goes a long way.
However, it is also important to account for emergencies and failures because these happen often. Don’t get discouraged when things don’t work exactly as you planned them out.
Just figure out a way to get around the failure and keep going.
By striking a good balance between your purpose of traveling and your meditation routine, you will get to enjoy your travel as well as keep your mental health at optimal levels, which will help you be happy, at peace, and fulfilled.
David Oscar is a huge meditation and mindfulness enthusiast. He is also a mental health researcher and the editor of Improve Your Brain Power, a website that shares the legitimate and effective ways to improve the power and function of the brain.