Traveling for work is taxing on your relationships, and your home life. It’s up to you, road warrior, to just accept that this comes with the nature of the schedule. It is what it is; however, that means it will take conscious, meaningful action to maintain your home life when you’re on the road AND when you get back home. Here are some ways to prevent travel from taking its toll on the people that matter the most:
- Keep Your Routine
Think about the routines you keep throughout the week. Do you sit with your better half after work, enjoy a glass of wine, and talk about yours days? Read your kids a bedtime story? Being on the road doesn’t mean you can’t be there. It’s hard to imagine an age before FaceTime, Skype, WhatsApp, and all the technology at our fingertips. Take advantage of it. When you get back to the hotel after a day at the office, keep a standing video chat date with your special someone(s). You can both cheers with your beverage of choice and talk about your days, face to face. Eat dinner together, even if yours is room service. See your kids’ eyes get droopy as you read them a story. The meaningful moments of your week won’t matter less because you’re traveling, but they will matter less if you don’t make the effort to have them.
- Small Gestures, Big Hearts
Don’t let the hotel postcard go to waste. Write your family a note and have the front desk mail it on your first day away. Want to show someone you care? Texts are pedestrian. Go old-school and put a letter or postcard in the mail as a surprise to let your special someone know you are thinking of them. Or, leave post-it notes around the house so your family will see messages from you while you’re away. Small gestures go a long way.
- Keep Date Night
When you return from travel, make sure to carve out time for a special date or activity. You can have dinner and watch a movie on the couch any night. Do something different and unique so you share experiences together in the time you have. Feed animals at the zoo, go on a scavenger hunt, or even check out a street festival. Experiences create lasting memories and will help you unwind while spending quality time with the people you love. Have some fun together!
- Be. Present.
If you are crashing from being on-the-go, you may get home and start to zone out or want to passively go with the flow. Resist the trap. Be. Present. Make your time count by engaging with the people who matter. If you zone out, that time won’t mean much and will likely increase the stress your road warrior schedule puts on your home life. Additionally, you’ll start feeling burned out by not letting yourself recharge in the right ways with the people you love.
- Remember it is YOUR Responsibility
Sometimes we can’t control our schedules, clients, and responsibilities. Our families may be OK with our travel, but we shouldn’t take that for granted. It is a lot to ask of someone that they be OK with our absence, day after day, week after week, small moments and big. We are the ones who changed the dynamic of our home life, not them. The family changes and relationship stressors are our responsibility. The extra effort should be ours, not because we have to, but because we are lucky to have people in our lives willing to tolerate having us as road warriors in the family.