Monday, October 15, 2012

Rules of the Road: For Your Health!

Fact: If you go on tour for a significant amount of time, you're going to get sick on the road.  You're shaking hands with fans, eating poorly, getting less sleep, you're traveling in a van/bus/plane with lots of other people breathing recirculated air, and you're often experiencing drastic changes in climates in short periods of time - all of this is a recipe for even the heartiest immune system to take a beating.  While there is no sure-fire way to avoid what I affectionately refer to as "the Tour Crud", there is a lot you can do to put the odds more in your favor.

• Wash Your Hands - This seems like common sense, but every time I use a public restroom, I am constantly grossed out by how few people wash their hands after using it.  Your hands are probably the number one body part for spreading germs.  Handle some money at the merch booth from someone with a cold, rub your nose, and boom.  You're sick.  So wash your hands as frequently as possible without going all Howard Hughes.  Keep some hand sanitizer with you and be conscious to use it when you've been in contact with a lot of people.

• Take Your Vitamins - While there is a lot of controversy about whether or not vitamin supplements are as effective as the vitamins you receive in food, it never hurts to give yourself a boost.  Just be sure to take them with food or you'll just urinate them out without them being absorbed properly.

• Keep An Eye on Your Diet - Unless you have reached the levels of stardom where you only eat in the finest restaurants or have a personal chef, chances are, you're going to be eating rather poorly when you're on tour - snacks from gas stations, fast food, questionable pizza, etc.  Even if you're trying, it can be tough to eat right when you're on tour.  But, if you make the effort, you can at least intersperse the culinary atrocities of the Circle K with the occasional salad, healthy snacks like seeds, nuts, and dried fruits, or even fresh fruits picked up at a quick trip to the supermarket.  Try and make sure you're getting enough fiber, too, as the changes to your diet you usually experience on the road can cause digestive... issues.

• Subdue Your Booze, Dude - I know no one wants to hear this one, but it's true.  Excessive alcohol consumption not only robs you of REM sleep, but it can compromise your immune system as well.  By all means, have fun and party like the rock star you aspire to be, but not every night.  Give your body a chance to heal itself.  Alcohol is rough on your voice, too, if you're a singer.  Take it easy unless you aspire to sound like Tom Waits.

• Get Some Damn Sleep - This can be the toughest one.  Oftentimes, you're getting back to the hotel at 3AM and have to get up again at 7 or 8 to get on the road again.  You're usually in noisy environments that make it tough to sleep, too.  What helps you get more and better sleep is probably pretty specific to you.  Try getting a white noise app for your phone to help filter out arguing hotel neighbors or snoring bandmates.  Jacked up on the adrenaline of performing and can't wind down?  Try natural supplements like Melatonin or Valerian Root to help you fall asleep faster.  Learn to take "power naps" - you'd be amazed how refreshing even a 15-20 minute nod off can be.  Also keep an eye on your caffeine consumption.  It doesn't effect everyone, but for some people, too much can mean a night of counting the cracks in your hotel ceiling (holy crap, did that one just MOVE?  Is that a centipede?!)

Looking back at this handful of suggestions, you might find it amusing that they are all things your mother has told you for years.  Who knew?  Moms are the original rock stars!

1 comment:

line of control said...

In addition to the "Wash you hands" thing...

Just stop touching your face already!

Stop rubbing your eyes/nose/mouth and letting those germs in.

Your hands can be filthy, but as long as you keep them away from your face, you should be OK!