Fatigue is one of the greatest roadblocks to cultural intelligence. When were exhausted, we’re much more susceptible to functioning an autopilot, a dangerous way to navigate culturally diverse terrain. And jet lag fatigues many of us when we travel.
Overcoming jet lag is more an art than a science but here are a few basic tips to share with the novice traveler:
1. Set your watch to the new timezone as soon as you board an international flight. If at all possible, attempt to follow the “new sleep” and eating patterns even on the trip over.
2. Eat half of what they give you on the plane–if that. And drink all the non-alcoholic beverages you can get out of them. Go easy on the alcohol. You’re already getting dehydrated.
3. Force yourself into the new sleep patterns immediately upon arrival. No naps if you arrive in the morning or mid-day.
4. Walk or run outside and get as much sunshine as possible. Light is key. Again, stay awake when it’s light but not too late. When it’s dark, sleep.
5. Drink a lot of coffee or tea before noon.
I always love hearing other traveler’s strategies. Feel free to add to the list!