Flying Without The Jetlag

Recently I completed my first long haul journey from Auckland, NZ to Heathrow, London, all of which was over 24 hours of travelling without any stopovers. Everyone I talked with about my journey always related it back to this idea of ‘jetlag’ – a sort of exhausted, depleted and very strained state that we supposedly feel because of a mixture of the timezone changes and the huge trip. So as you can imagine, I was curious as to how I would handle this sort of experience.

Feeling exhausted after such a journey is understandable, considering how long I would have to stay in the confined space of a plane or in the busy-ness and rush of the airport. However, to my surprise, my body naturally adjusted well to it and the next day, after my arrival in London, I awoke as I would have normally, without any ‘jet lag’ or exhaustion from the previous day’s events.

How was this possible?

Firstly, I was inspired by my friend who mentioned that the body naturally adjusts to the time changes better if we live to the time in the timezone that I was currently in.

I had previously thought that perhaps the body would not adjust very well to these time changes, as travel like this is not something we tend to do. I thought I would have to ‘prepare’ my body for each timezone change and live in the rhythm of the timezone I was flying from (Auckland, NZ).

However I could soon feel how exhausting it was to view the journey and timezone changes in this way and how I was already setting myself up to feel exhausted by the end of the journey by not honouring what my body was naturally telling me.

Secondly, I ate foods that honoured my body and naturally listened to what my body was saying. If I felt I needed a walk around the plane I would honour this; generally this was very frequent – usually once every 1 or 2 hours.

I noticed on the plane how most people ate a lot of stimulating foods loaded with sugar or drank alcohol and I wondered whether this form of stimulation was truly supportive for such a trip, as it takes us away from listening to our bodies’ natural communication with us. This could be through feeling like stretching our legs or what foods the body is truly asking for to support it.

I realised from the flight just how important honouring the rhythms of our body truly is, particularly on a journey like this.

Thirdly, I gently took the approach of viewing the space on the flights as a loving time to enjoy being with me and my body: to observe life on a deeper level and appreciate how much had unfolded to support me to arrive at the moment that was before me.

I chose not to go into thinking about how I was going to fill up the time with things to do or how I was going to face the boredom of doing very little. Even my laptop’s battery could not last the whole journey and I felt this was lovely, as it offered the space to let go and just be.

It was beautiful to feel how empowering it can be to honour the body and its natural intelligence. This experience confirmed to me just how the body is always there, to support and assist us, with anything that life presents and all we have to do is to simply honour what it is telling us.

With inspiration from the living ways of fellow students of Universal Medicine.

By Joshua Campbell, 23, IT Consultant, Tauranga NZ

Further Reading:
What’s All The Fuss About Self-Care?
I’ve Found that Observing My Body Is A Great Support

699 thoughts on “Flying Without The Jetlag

  1. Joshua I do long haul flights to the UK once a year. I used to dread the flight because of the gossip people would go into, either from the family, friends or in the past, the media. I didn’t experience much jet lag going to the UK but once I was in Australia, it was bad, waking all sorts of hours etc.

    My last trip was different, in that I did something similar to you, I allowed my body to be. This time, I did not eat the food served on the plane and packed my own which I ate once I was on the ground only. Drank lots of water and walked more often.

    It was far from perfect, but my body felt different and this year it will be refined again as my beliefs about flying changes, my body responds.

    Everybody’s bodies are capable of adjusting to another country’s time zone, it’s the ideals, beliefs we have taken on that prevents us from experimenting what is supportive and what is not, the body will signal to you, just listen and take heed. Simple…

  2. It’s a great point that people can experience jet lag which is heavily contributed to by the food, drinks and the activities on the plane, without much attendance to the bodies actual needs. We have such a lack of true self care by responding to the body that it may be that a trip on a plane just magnifies how bad the body already feels, and conversely self care before, during, and after a flight could potentially eliminate jet lag.

    1. Our body is continually there to support, and assist us, ‘It was beautiful to feel how empowering it can be to honour the body and its natural intelligence.’

    2. I find that jet lag is already there when we haven’t even taken off! We get into an anxiety of what shall I pack, what shall I go without, the stress to get to the airport on time, will my luggage be over weight and the list goes on.

      If we settle into our bodies, it knows exactly what is needed and what isn’t, we just need to do the most supportive thing, and that is to respond.

  3. Jet lag or lack of sleep from poor nights due to having young children or otherwise does not have to be a terrible experience that affects us for days. I know there have been many times when I have not had a good nights sleep and yet, when I have honoured this and still gone to work the next day but with greater awareness of how gentle I need to be with myself, it is like the body has a beautiful way of responding and is totally fine. That said there are times when I have been frustrated with lack of sleep and not handled myself gently in the day and been grumpy and have let it affect me in so many ways – our approach to it is key, but not on a mental level of convincing ourselves we are fine, but more on the level of the body being looked after so that we are feeling loved up and capable.

    1. I agree Henrietta, having experienced chronic insomnia reacting to not sleeping well puts an enormous extra strain on the body. Sometimes I have woken quite early, such as 2am, yet I have taken things so gently through the day and I have surprisingly been ok all day. At other times in similar situations and taking things gently I have still been exhausted, as I’m sure other factors were impacting me (like the day before and the reason for waking early), however staying steady and being gentle and loving is so super supportive for the body.

  4. The body is really amazing in its capacity to handle what it goes through and adjust and/or bounce back fairly quickly, provided we treat it with as much loving care as possible.

  5. Thank you Joshua for your sharing – jet lag is a common theme people talk about and it is great to bust some myths around how it can affect you hugely. I too have experienced that it does not have to be such a big deal and that more often it is my mind that wants to make it more of a deal than it actually is, and as you said if we work with the body it adapts pretty well.

  6. Seems to me a lot of peoples set themselves up for jet-lag even when not flying, simply by the way they fly off the handle in situations that they have reacted to and thus leave there body open to different energy that are draining!

  7. “It was beautiful to feel how empowering it can be to honour the body and its natural intelligence.” A long haul flight that offered a lesson on life.

    1. It is beautiful when we honour our bodies, ‘I realised from the flight just how important honouring the rhythms of our body truly is, particularly on a journey like this.’

  8. It’s so interesting to consider all the things that we have access to on a plane to distract us from just resting. I wonder what it would be like if there was only one or two simple meals on board (depending on the length of the flight) and just water to drink, along with resetting their timezone before taking off? A very different situation I imagine, and no doubt many more people would reach their destination feeling more refreshed and less jet lagged.

  9. I travel extensively on long-haul flights for work, over the years I have found it invaluable to develop a self-care routine and live a strong rhythm when I am home that supports my body wherever I go.

    1. Wow – love it Anna – this is certainly key! I too have had to do travel for work (though not long haul flights) and have found a similar thing where my rhythm at home is like my strongest ‘bounce back’ card that supports me with a work schedule that is pretty intense.

    2. I love what you share Anna, it makes so much sense, ‘I gently took the approach of viewing the space on the flights as a loving time to enjoy being with me and my body: to observe life on a deeper level and appreciate how much had unfolded to support me to arrive at the moment that was before me.’

  10. I have found that the more I listen and respond to my body I have been amazed by the body’s intelligence to the point that I can take it for granted. Great to read this so that I keep remembering to appreciate it and not to take it for granted.

  11. What I appreciate more and more, when we honour our body’s rhythm and what it is communicating, is the confirmation we feel from our body that our movements and choices are deeply nurturing and our body supports us from a true inner steadiness.

  12. The intelligence of the body is such that it adjusts to whatever it has to adjust. Yet, the adjustment is contingent. It adjusts to the environment, to the seasons, etc. These are natural adjustments. It also adjusts to our un-intelligent choices… to a point till start to fight back.… in our true name.

    1. It could be said that our body is un-intelligent when it adjusts to our ill, un-intelligent choices yet that is not the case. It is, in fact, the expression of God’s unconditional love for us and it also so when it gets too much for the body it does react.

  13. Our body is truly amazing, and your sharing makes me wonder how many other ways we interfere with its innate wisdom and workings. If the body is totally left to its own devices and we follow its lead, who knows what would become possible?

  14. Yeah, what if jet lag is not unavoidable with long haul flights changing time zones? What if it is all about how we are with ourselves on the plane just like it is in life on the ground. Our choices do have an effect on us wether it is on land or in the air!

    1. It’s a great point Lieke, we see jet lag as unavoidable, and just part of life, when it doesn’t actually have to be, like many things we accept as normal or unavoidable.

      1. I always like it when someone exposes one of those things where I think it is just the way it is like feeling low or stressed and they show me that it is not the way it is and that there is another way of living life without that.

      2. I’m a big fan of that also, I can see in myself I get stuck when I think this is how life is, the consciousness is so limited in what it allows me to think, but then a reflection of someone else can awaken me to realise what I thought is not it – there is actually so much more.

  15. This is super important Joshua, when we honour our rhythm and our natural cycles we are less likely to be affected by jet lag.

  16. When we conduct our day in alignment with the time zone we are in it is actually a reflection of being present in the moment in a practical sense.

  17. When we allow thoughts like, “its going to be so long I am going to be so jet lagged at the end ” we are setting ourselves to actually feel this way, when in fact, as you have expressed Joshua, that when we listen and support our body it supports us back.

  18. This is super cool Joshua, my approach to flying used to be that it was a great time out from life – you can watch movies non stop, eat as much as you want, lounge about – unsurprisingly I felt terrible when I arrived and had to “check back in to life”. Now I decide to remain checked in (excuse the pun) the whole duration of the flight and I feel so much stronger and more myself when I land.

  19. I am continually awe-inspired by my deepening relationship with my body, and the wisdom of offer when we surrender ourselves to be guided by it. We are so much more that what we think we are or give ourselves credit for, and in allowing ourselves the space to explore this we discover just how amazing we already are and how much more Soulfullness there is for us to live.

  20. We do ourselves an injustice when we think we need to be stimulated all the time or else we’ll be bored. Our mind may well be fidgety looking for things to do but our body will take the opportunity to rest if we allow it.

  21. My feeling is that in feeling the purpose we have in our choices, it is a simple following on to care for our body innately, so that we can provide the service that is needed.

  22. What I feel in this article is how a deep acceptance of the moment one is in provides a simplicity, that tenderly, yet purposefully prepares us for the next moment, and the grace of allowing this to be.

  23. Our bodies have an extraordinary natural intelligence… It’s just that we are not used to listening to It… But it is always there in the moments of stillness, in the space of the silence.

  24. I agree Joshua it is empowering when we listen to and honour what our body is truly communicating to us and by taking responsibility in fully preparing ourselves and our body for what is to come, like taking long haul trips, that we stay aligned with our body’s rhythm that naturally adjusts itself when we remain connected and aware and responsive to what our body needs in a nurturing and caring way.

  25. A great reminder that our body knows a lot and that when we listen to our bodies we are way better of than when we are putting our minds above.. That eventually can only lead to more distance of yourself and your connection to it (your body).

  26. Beautiful confirmation and experience, ‘It was beautiful to feel how empowering it can be to honour the body and its natural intelligence.’ It is amazing how our body is always there 24/7 with support and wisdom.

  27. It doesn’t matter how many times you read things like this there is always room for you to hear more. With this article it makes perfect sense and I am still becoming more and more aware of how if we just allow, surrender to all that is already there then how much simpler and easier life flows. All these things are placed in our path and it is our choice if we bend down to pick them up rather then standing tall and allowing everything else to be. This article has supported me to write a comment that is around how I am feeling and also allowing me to stretch a perception I am holding.

  28. Most people who enter the plane for a flight are wanting to be at the destination. The time in between is not used to live but to survive, to distract from what they will feel when they have to sit for such a long time. So avoiding or sabotaging any connection with the body is what they will choose. Your time in the plane is quality time, time to adjust the body to let go and make space for what is already there.

  29. I remember in the past how much I did not want to feel my body. Now it’s all I feel and my choice I live for my body. I’m not perfect – I’m aware how much I dull myself everyday still. Honouring your body is everything you could ever imagine. The wonder now for me is why do I choose to dull down my astute awareness?

  30. It does feel great when we honour our body, ‘the body is always there, to support and assist us, with anything that life presents and all we have to do is to simply honour what it is telling us.’

  31. I love your sharing of your experience of long haul flying, and I agree, honouring and listening to your body all the time is so important, ‘I ate foods that honoured my body and naturally listened to what my body was saying. If I felt I needed a walk around the plane I would honour this; generally this was very frequent – usually once every 1 or 2 hours.’

  32. Love New Zealand fyi and that aside we set ourselves up and we don’t choose to see it. Image flying for a long time and eating and drinking like is described in this article and expecting to wake up fresh at the other end. As the saying goes you get out what you put in and I know most people are tired from a simple night out drinking let alone flying in a confined space and drinking. It’s almost like we give up on ourselves in a way and think we are going to have jetlag anyway and so we may as well enjoy ourselves. But as the article is saying we need to stop and start to look at how we accept these things as being ‘normal’. As the article again presents our version of ‘normal’ is only because we walk in the same circles. You only need make a change to realise our perceived normal is actually and truly far from it.

  33. I was on a plane journey yesterday. Even though it wasn’t a long haul flight, I know from experience that when I set my clock to the time zone I am travelling to, everything seems to flow from there and I have never experienced jet lag.

  34. Listening and honouring what our body is communicating is what truly supports us to not be affected especially when we travel between time zones. Refining our choices makes a huge difference and in how we prepare for our journey beforehand.

  35. ‘This experience confirmed to me just how the body is always there, to support and assist us, with anything that life presents and all we have to do is to simply honour what it is telling us.’ I agree Joshua, the body is sharing its amazing wisdom all of the time, we can choose to ignore or listen. I prefer to listen although I not always fully appreciate its messages, I know in the end my body is telling me the truth.

  36. “Firstly, I was inspired by my friend who mentioned that the body naturally adjusts to the time changes better if we live to the time in the timezone that I was currently in.” I agree, i travel to the USA a few times a year to visit family and changing my clock when I board my flights has made a huge difference – and then eating and sleeping accordingly – lovingly caring for and nurturing my body.

  37. An awesome sharing Joshua on how we can support our bodies on a long-haul flight – if everyone applied these simple self-care principles jet-lag would not be experienced by many at all.

  38. This is a great share Joshua. What better purpose can there be in such a situation, than to deeply surrender to the body and care for it? Whilst I’ve not done the long haul flight you experienced, this is most certainly my approach to lengthy flight when I’ve taken them.
    Allowing the body the deepest of rest and letting go, moving when needed, eating foods and drinking beverages that truly support, go an enormous way in assisting with the actual pressures placed upon our body during a flight. I also observe how much people around me go down, and down a long way, through not bringing this fundamental self-care on flights.
    It is really, our choice.

  39. The first paragraph reminded me of many other situations when people I speak to about a certain subject, recently it was a style of service in the restaurant I work in. I was getting nothing but doom and gloom stories, which was building a tension within me. But the more I followed how my body felt I could feel an ease with what was coming and during the service it was not doom and gloom but actually pretty simple. It reminds me of online reviews, we can’t go off other peoples experiences as if we will experience the exact same as ours may be completely different depending on our choices.

  40. As we honour our body in the preparation of a flight by preparing our food, and what we may need, and listen to what best supports it during the flight, we arrive without having put our body under any undue stress and therefore it is able to function fully when we arrive at our destination.

  41. I love this Joshua ‘Thirdly, I gently took the approach of viewing the space on the flights as a loving time to enjoy being with me and my body: to observe life on a deeper level and appreciate how much had unfolded to support me to arrive at the moment that was before me.’ I have tended to get caught up in the fact I find it hard to sleep on planes without seeing the gift I am being offered of time with me without the distractions of my everyday life.

  42. I have experienced jet lag (that lasted many days) after a relatively short flight (7 hours) and a much easier transition after a much longer flight so it feels to me that it is also important how I prepare for the flight as well as how I look after myself on the flight itself and once I have landed. The time I had a bad experience with jet lag came during a stressful time in my life when there were other contributing factors. I feel it was also about my expectation that I would suffer from jet lag and that what I was feeling was how depleted my body was in general which was highlighted by my plane journey.

  43. Over the past few years I have been learning how surrendering to the intelligence of the body is what allows us to be guided by the wisdom that honors our essence, the love we are within so that we can live with the optimum vitality and well-being through any situation. Thank you Joshua, for what you have shared here offers not only great practical support but also a great learning of how our bodies always know what to do, we simply have to allow ourselves to listen.

  44. I so appreciate how the way I travel has changed so much ever since I came to be exposed to what Universal Medicine presents and the way I could honour and take care of myself. It feels so empowering to know that there is a way to build a foundation upon which we live our every day and we don’t have to become a victim of our environment.

  45. It is important as you say Joshua to honour our body’s natural rhythm. When we listen with openness to what our body is communicating we know what is truly supportive for our body and in this flow and ease with ourselves we naturally adjust how we are with ourselves wherever we are and more so when travelling into different time zones.

  46. I used to get terrible jetlag – but since attending Universal Medicine events – and learning to be with me – in my body – adjusting to the time I was going to be in at the end of my flight as soon as I got on the plane and eating simply – it hardly bothers me now. I also love reading the e-books by Serge Benhayon during flights – so supportive.

  47. The worst jet lag I’ve ever had was flying from Australia to the UK 16 years ago but I didn’t support my body much at all on the flight. I wanted to sleep but couldn’t as I was excited and nervous of what was next, and so watched movie after movie for 20 something hours. I felt awful and took a week or more to get over. Now I do what you tried Joshua and the difference is massive.

  48. When we honour the body and its intelligence, we can never go wrong… for it does not matter where we are or what we are faced with…. its wisdom will support us if we choose to listen.

  49. The more I listen to my body on long haul flights – at least six a year currently – the less I feel jet lag. Attuning to the time zone I am flying to and eating nourishing foods ensures my body arrives in good shape. I love reading Serge Benhayon’s E-books on flights nowadays.

  50. I love the time long hall flights give me, no emails, no phone calls, space just to be with me no need to catch up on the latest movies, some nutritious food made for the flight, and some extra time to look at a project or two, which also allows me plenty of time to rest and sleep as my body clock starts to adjust during the flight.

  51. To me, flights – particularly long haul – are largely populated by people who check out. I’ve been there myself. I watched the Lord of the Rings trilogy one flight and The Godfather trilogy on the way back. Today we chat to people, bring food that supports us, games for our little one and generally have a different, less checked-out experience.

  52. It is really a surprise that people arrive with jet lag and can’t settle if they have consumed sugar laden food and drink that overstimulates them during their flight?

    1. My thoughts as well Suse, if we feel hungover after drinking alcohol or feel stimulated eating sugar on the ground, of course we are going to feel it even more flying and after.

  53. Life is such a magical experience when we honour our bodies and give them the true care they need, it’s almost hard to believe that it’s the same life that was once a painful, difficult struggle and so disenchanting.

  54. This is an interesting parallel to everyday life. If we fly through life dependent on stimulants, distractions and not listening to the messages from our body then we we will lag behind from living with true vitality.

  55. I agree Joshua eating stimulating foods loaded with sugar and drinking alcohol upsets our body’s rhythm so that we lose our sensitivity to feel how our body is or what it is communicating to us and it makes sense that this would be heightened whilst travelling when our sleep pattern can be different from normal and already out of sync.

  56. Great blog Joshua, whatever we are doing, it is very supportive to listen to our body. It makes sense to honour our body because if we don’t we feel the effects of ignoring its messages and I find exhaustion is a common effect.

  57. Joshua I have been on quite a few flights recently and have really listened to and honoured my body. Whilst I was walking up and down the aisle I became aware of the rigid shapes that the seats hold people’s bodies in. Yes, the space is confining but the seats seemed to be pinning everyone in unnecessarily. It does make me wonder if the position that the seats are angled at, make it hard for people to act freely, combine that with the dehydrated foods and alcohol and it’s no wonder that people come off long haul flights looking like sausage meat!

  58. Joshua your blog really shows how time is something we can hold onto and that then gets draining because we have to think it all through and ignore what our body is saying. Or we can see it as a space where we are in and when you are in the space the only thing you can do is feeling what our body needs at that moment, no more no less. How amazing is that!

  59. It is very empowering when we listen to and honour how our body is feeling and connect with the simplicity and flow of our body’s natural rhythm. It really does supports us to live in a more harmonious way.

  60. That our ‘body naturally adjusts to the time changes better if we live to the time in the timezone’ of our destination sounds completely logical to me. In fact this principle of staying steady and adjusting exactly to the environment of where we are at can be applied to all that we do.

  61. In the past I used to get jet lag that lasted up to 5 days after a flight. The exhaustion that followed was extreme and debilitating but what I now realise is that it was how I was on those flights that caused it, drinking alcohol and tea and coffee and watching movie after movie what was exhausting me. These days I follow a similar regime to the one you mentioned taking care of myself and avoiding stimulation and resting as much as I can on the flight with frequent exercise to give the body a loving break from the uncomfortable seat.

  62. I can confirm your suggestion about the time zones as whenever I travel, as soon as I am on the plane I set my clock to the local time of my destination. I have never had jetlag so there must be something in it!

  63. I am sitting in Gatwick airport, about to board a plane for a 12 hour journey. How supportive is this blog! Awesome, thank you.

  64. We can get so caught up in the adventure ahead of us at the arrival of our destination that we treat long haul flights as some sort of limbo. But as you have shared Josh caring for and honouring our body during the whole flight process prepares us for our destination significantly more lovingly than if we don’t.

    1. I used to refrain from drinking on flights because of not wanting to disturb others when I got up to use the toilet. Crazy! Now I make sure I drink enough water and stay hydrated. Also I now always travel with one of those neck cushions. I find it really helps when I need to have a snooze.

  65. Joshua, I love reading about how you valued the time you spent on the plane. A loving time to be with you and to reflect on where you are. No wonder you were not exhausted at the end of the journey.

  66. it is really intense when you actually clock the amount of stimulation that is actually going on in the planes on the long trips… If you sit back a little bit and just observe all the movies that people are watching, the food that they are eating, and what they are drinking, even if it’s not alcohol the odds are that it will be sugar loaded… Yes and I also wondered why I always had jetlag!

    1. Funny that cjames how the more we allow ourselves to ‘clock’ and feel, then the more we can learn what supports us and what does not – and then comes the crunch line ie taking action with what we have felt to be supportive and not just observe that and leave it at the observation deck. There are many things I have managed to put into action and feel so much better for it, and yet there are so many more things to explore and begin to put into action….

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