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Elizabeth Cohen: Travel healthy during the holidays

CNN's Elizabeth Cohen
CNN's Elizabeth Cohen

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(CNN) -- Along with snarling traffic and congesting airports, holiday traveling can take its toll on a person's health.

CNN medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen talked with anchor Soledad O'Brien about easing Thanksgiving stress.

O'BRIEN: No surprise here: Thanksgiving weekend is the busiest travel period of the year. And getting from here to there can be a coast-to-coast headache. So what's a holiday traveler to do to ease the pain?

COHEN: Soledad, we all know that stress feels bad, but you know what? It's also bad for your heart, it's bad for your blood pressure. So in general, it's just not a good thing to give in to stress. It's good to think ahead in situations, like holiday travel, and try to think of some ways to have a less stressful experience.

And so we have some tips to have an all-around holistically, breathe-deeply-in-and-out kind of happy-holidays travel.

First of all, consider off-peak travel times. That really can help quite a bit. If you go sort of midmorning, that sometimes is a time that other people aren't going.

Also, expect delays and traffic. Sometimes when you have it in your head that it might be bad, it sort of makes it easier to deal with those difficult situations.

Also, bring healthy food. There's a lot of junk in airports. Bring your own good stuff.

Also, carry a hand sanitizer. If you can't make it to the bathroom [to wash your hands], you can always use a hand sanitizer, and at least that might help keep you a little bit free from germs.

Now, I have to relate my own story when I was at the airport recently. I saw a woman sitting in the lotus position breathing in and out deeply. And I thought, there's a smart woman. ...

O'BRIEN: What about after you get off the plane? What can you do outside of getting sort of through the trip?

COHEN: Right, even after you get off of the plane, there's often stress. People often have family kinds of stress, and let's talk a little bit about that. First of all, drink herbal teas instead of caffeine drinks. This is while you're traveling, while you're on the plane, while you're off the plane.

Carry an aromatherapy product. They have these little tubes that you can take with you, and you take the top off and you smell and it actually can sometimes even make you feel better.

Also, bring a travel pillow. Those things are great. They go on your neck and you sort of flop your head over.

Listen to soothing music and do exercises on the plane. So those are some tips for while you're on the plane.


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