In the last 12 months (at the time of writing this blog article), my day job has taken me all over the province and the country. I am really fortunate to see places in my province that not many people are able to see. As a natural homebody, I’ve become an expert at taking my home with me wherever I go. This also means taking FAM with me wherever I go. I’ve received many questions on how to continue on with FAM when travelling. There are many of posts about how to keep charting while you travel, but I wanted to give my own perspective on this. There is the practical side of continuing to chart with odd sleep patterns, temperature variable rooms, and time changes, and then there is the emotional side. Our emotions and life circumstances do play a part in our hormonal health. Keeping routines, even while you travel, can help with this aspect of hormone balance. In this post, I want to delve into both sides of travelling and using FAM In my experience, the logistics of charting and taking my temperature have not been an issue for using FAM. The thing that has wreaked havoc on my cycles is the stress, change in routine, change in food that comes with travel.
It is possible to keep charting while you’re traveling! In the past, I have been able to confirm ovulation while I’ve been on the road, as long as I remember my thermometer and continue to pay attention to my cervical mucous. Some things to keep in mind when travelling that will impact your temperatures are:
Time Change: For a time change of an hour or two, or for the case of daylight savings: don’t adjust the time you wake up, continue taking my temperature at the same time, and let my body slowly adjust. I may notice a slight increase or decrease in temperature, but after a day or two it will go back to normal. For more than one-two hours: You can alternatively adjust the time that you take your temperature, either earlier or later depending on the time change, which will give you a more accurate temperature compared to what you were used to. The main thing to remember is that you need 3 consecutive hours of sleep before you can have a reliable temperature, and to take it before you get out of bed. For 1-2 hours, or for the case of daylight savings: adjust your waking temperature time to reflect the time change. For example, if your normal waking time is 7 am, and the time has gone back an hour, adjust your waking time to 8 am. After several nights, switch it back to the original time, or wait till a new cycle. For more than 1-2 hours. Keep taking your temperature as if there hasn’t been a time change. Pay attention to any fluctuations in temperature, and note it in your chart. Be wary about confirming ovulation at this time. Again, after several nights, your body will have adjusted.
Room Temperature: Sleeping in a colder or warmer room than normal can affect your temperatures. This can be mitigated if you’re sleeping in a colder room, by holding the thermometer in your mouth for a couple of seconds before you take your temperature. If you are sleeping in a warmer room, you may notice some higher temperatures. Make a note in your chart, and you will begin to notice a pattern as to whether the room temperature affects your BBT or not.
Missed temperatures:If you have been charting for at least three months, you should have a general idea of the range of temperatures for your pre-ovulatory phase, and the range of temperatures for your post-ovulatory phase. You can still chart normally if you have a missed temperature here or there. The amount of acceptable missed temperatures depends on the method of FAM you are using. I have still been able to confirm ovulation with a missed temperature here and there.IllnessIllness can impact our temperatures. The most common example of this is the impact of a fever on temperatures. Make sure to make a note on your chart that you were sick these days. If the temperatures are higher than usual, you may need to mark them as questionable. The stress on your body can also delay ovulation and hormone production. Your immune system is working harder than normal, and your body probably isn't thinking that babies are the priority. Make sure to rest and take extra good care of your body. By the next cycle, things should go back to normal.
I travel to remote communities for my work, and am on the road for quite a bit out of the month. Sometimes I’m just gone for the day, and other times I’m gone for several nights. No matter how long I go away for, I always bring what I’ll need. I also have a small pouch that I put my thermometers in, a couple crystals, a little bit of sage, some tealights. It’s these little things that make wherever I go become home. I bring slippers, tea and lots of food. I will usually make a stop before I head out to the airport and get some snacks I wouldn’t normally eat.Keeping my stress levels down and having some semblance of home helps my hormonal health. This means that I make sure to go for walks and get fresh air when I am transitioning to a new place, and I'll prioritize sleep. It’s easy when I work out in the communities to work really long hours. But I will try to do some activities in the evenings like baking or making a meal to do something other than work. When I go up to the communities there is usually little or no wifi, and no cell service. This means I bring up DVD’s to watch movies or spend more time reading.I will really notice my cycles out of whack when I'm overwhelmed and frazzled. My body won't feel safe to ovulate, and I'll see that in my charts. Planning my life so I have a balance of work, play and rest, does wonders for my menstrual cycle.
Keys to emotional and hormonal health when you're on the road:
Remember that just because you're travelling, doesn't mean things are always rosy and fun. Accepting that being in a different place can be lonely, disorienting and hard, takes the pressure off needing to have fun "all the time."
Take time to eat! When we're out of our normal routine, sometimes we forget to eat food. Maintaining stable blood sugar and eating regularly is important for hormone health.
Take bits of home with you. Bring along things that remind you to connect to yourself, take care of yourself and love on yourself.
Stay in the moment. When you go back home, you might find yourself reminiscing. So often we wait till we're out of the situation to long for it. Stay in the moment and enjoy wherever you are.
Say yes! To experiences, events, foods and people that are out of your comfort zone. You will make the most memories when you do something you wouldn't normally do. Travelling is the best time for this.