When JetLag ruins your amazing life. Then What?

I just returned from a six-day trip to Germany to attend a family gathering. Well, those six days are unfortunately not six days but rather more like nine days. Just as I get into the rhythm of the time difference in Germany, I fly back, and the fun begins all over again.

I am a total mess. I am not even sure if I just need more sleep or if I am jet lagged. But come four o’clock, I fall asleep basically wherever I am. I am sluggish and exhausted. And actually, it has taken me another four days to get back into the rhythm of writing and editing. So, this post is going to be late!

Before the travel

Before leaving on a jet plane, things were going superbly well. I was nailing my training, and I was getting up early to write 500 words each morning, post to my blog all before getting going for the day. It is really easy for me to get discouraged right now as I can’t help but think I have dropped the ball on “me, myself and I.” Sticking to a routine, working diligently on something are things that are important to me, so I can quickly feel down when I think about how I just dropped these habits in a heartbeat.  

However, as an athlete, I am smarter than this, and I will learn from my athlete's toolbox. I am not going to get discouraged because of a temporary glitch in the routine. We know to focus on the process when performance has gone missing. We are aware to simply move on, to not pass judgment on ourselves and how our training session went and then simply move on.

So here I am, writing, analyzing what happened, and moving onward.

Let’s take a look at the top 5 challenges Jet Lag presents for the human body

Definition of Jet Lag

  • Jet lag is the physiological condition when, due to east->west, or, west->east travel, the body’s natural rhythm, the circadian rhythm, is disturbed.
  • Symptoms are usually worse westbound rather than eastbound.

What are circadian rhythms

Our bodies have a natural 24-hour rhythm and it is expressed in biochemical, behavioral and physiological cycles. We have a built-in clock that tells our body when it is time to do what. Sleep, eat, body temperature and energy levels are all regulated.

Major Symptoms

Sleepiness, fatigue, confusion, lack of awareness, drowsiness, nausea, dehydration, digestion/indigestion, frequency of defecation and consistency, appetite confusion

How fast can we adapt?

Generally, it is 1 day/1 hour.

Who is affected the worst?

Study finds People who stick to a rigid daily routine and are bothered by changes to routine, suffer the most!

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Jet lag is obviously more than just simple sleep problems!

So where does this leave me now?

For starters, I acknowledge that this is more than just a mental thing. Today, day 9 of having left to travel, I am starting to feel like myself again. So today I will go full force and know that with every waking hour, the symptoms of jet lag will pass.

Looking ahead

I will try to start changing my rhythm before flying out, that way I may only have 5 hours to deal with instead of 9. Worth a try!

Don’t expect that I can upkeep my rigorous routine when traveling and adjust the expectations accordingly.

This time around I was “coffee hungry.” I think I need to accept that when traveling, as much as having coffee is a nice feeling, it really doesn’t help that much in the end. So better to just drink more water!

Glitches happen, it is how you handle them that ultimately define how you progress through it all. Head up, move on! There are so many stories to write!