My body, my mind and me.

Travelling makes demands of the body that everyday living doesn’t. Different beds, unfamiliar pillows, pollution, changing temperatures, breathing airplane air compressed and conditioned; and most of all changing latitude and longitude which means being awake at times when you’re normally asleep.

In the middle of the eleven hour flight from Copenhagen to Singapore when I couldn’t get to sleep and when my body wanted to neon light every discomfort it was feeling, I concluded it was mind over matter that was going to help me.

In the middle of “the night” when I’m supposed to be sleeping on the plane, my body says this slightly reclined chair with its thin cushioning, amongst the ongoing ambient noise of jet engines, the aroma of human gases rising and fading, and the blue glow of individual entertainment screens from passengers who’ve given up on the idea of sleeping, is extremely uncomfortable. And then to prove it, conspires with the mind to itemise each area – ankles, legs, bum, shoulders, neck – where there is discomfort and draws a convincing argument that getting any decent sleep is unlikely. Teaming up with the mind again, the body then hounds me with ideas about how crap I’m going to feel if I don’t get some sleep.

It was at this point that I’d had enough of this whinging mass of materialised stardust and decide to beat it at its own game by teaming up with the mind. This is nothing more than mind over matter I decide – game on!

Well not really game on. I prefer to be collaborator than competitor, preferring to move with kindness than beat into submission. So dosed up with kindness and another melatonin tablet, the body starts to listen to the gentle cooing of my mind and me as we chill out to slow breathing, moving the mind’s eye attentively around the body, releasing tension; and finding some semblance of yoga nidra.^

* * * *

So, at home Monday morning when the alarm sounds at 5.30am and the body wants to slip back in time to the northern European night that it’s been sleeping for the past three weeks, I’m determined to outsmart it.

I make myself get out of bed, get on my bike and ride into the day, into its sunshine and fresh air. At first I feel a little bleary headed, but happy. The sky is clear, the sun yet to rise and my legs feel an easy rhythm as they spin around.

Monday is a sparkling autumn day that opens with about nine degrees celsius and drops to 7 degrees just after the 6.10am sunrise. It’s cool but after three weeks of living in the cool Nordic spring, I’m confident with choosing clothes to keep me warm. Cycling nicks, with legs added, woollen socks, my new Nike Free shoes, Icebreaker woollen long sleeve thermal shirt and vest, Windstopper gloves, Snowgum woollen skull cap and I’m warm, comfortable and enjoying breaking down the jag of jet lag.

Movement, sunshine and fresh air are the ingredients my biorhythms need to align to where my feet are walking, where my wheels are turning.

I do the same the next day.

Being on my bike early in the morning helped me move through any jet lag that was waiting to grab me. Getting out of bed and being active required some discipline, a bit of mind over matter, but it was worth it to be in sync again with the timezone.

I still feel tired but at least I’m awake and asleep at the right times for this latitude and longitude.

And now everyone’s happy – my body, my mind and me.

^If you’re interested to explore further, Daniela Casotti has an excellent Yoga Nidra CD.

10 Comments on “My body, my mind and me.

  1. I thought for a moment there you were channeling me (my mind and my body)! Certainly in terms of how one’s mind can be either friend or foe in dealing with discomforts and other challenges.

    I can vouch for yoga nidra as a means of harnessing the mind’s power. It is discipline that is a flighty creature ducking and weaving to escape and leaving the three of me slumbering on when you are out enjoying the outdoors.

    Thanks for a reflective post. I am in awe of your will power.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am working on becoming a morning person but thus far, this skill eludes me. I wonder that as I get older, I may finally master this valuable craft.
    Certainly on those rare occasions when the sun and I have greeted each other, we seem to have gotten on very well.
    Until then I will live vicariously through you Gail.
    I will also channel those techniques when I take flight later this year for bella Italia.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for these tips! I’ve yet to travel overseas so I’ve never experienced jet lag but when I do I will certainly give this a go. I’m glad you’re happy…in body and mind! Lovely writing, Gail. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jet lag is such a disorienting feeling. I’ve read that it’s very important to connect with the new time zone as quickly as possible. Some travellers I know change their watch over to the time zone of their destination as soon as they board the plane so the mind starts functioning for that time zone. I did that too and it seems to help.

      Sunshine seems to be the real gem for aligning the biorhythms to the place where your feet are.

      Glad you enjoyed the story Jane 🙂 Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh yes, the joys of time travel … haha. It’s a challenge isn’t it. I’ve been lucky this past year so far to remain in relatively the same time zone (+/-2 hours). But travel to / from Europe can be a challenge. Well done on beating the body with the mind.

    I twice returned from Europe when I still had a full time job. Both times I returned on a Sunday evening and was at work on Monday morning because I didn’t want to waste my rec leave on recovery days. The first time I fell asleep with my head on my desk mid-afternoon. The second time I sat on a couch at lunch time … what a mistake. The clerks I supervised at the time pushed me over so that I was laying down and left me to sleep until 5pm rolled around.


    • That’s hilarious! But true in how tired the jet lag can leave you. I flew back to Australia from Europe four years ago and slept for 48 hours with only brief moments of groggy consciousness! I was well out of sync with the time zone and it took me over a week to settle again.

      I feel very happy to have to recovered more quickly this time.

      Liked by 1 person

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