Thursday, April 10, 2014

Guest Blogger: Traveling with WED/RLS by Ali Dzienkowski

Traveling to different places, whether in the U.S. or abroad, has been a big part of my life, and I really enjoy it. But ever since I began dealing with RLS/WED, I’ve had to deal with some aspects of traveling in more proactive ways. As someone living with RLS/WED, it’s important to know whatever things may trigger your RLS/WED.

Whenever I travel, it is difficult to me to spend most of the time sitting in a seat for several hours at a time. [This actually became apparent to me when I was still in high school – sometimes my RLS/WED would be triggered because for a majority of the day I would be sitting in class, only to come home and sit some more while I studied or did homework. This led me to set aside time to walk on the treadmill in order to get myself to do something active. I find it is easy to lose track of how much time I actually spend sitting during the day, doing various things.

Once I started college, my mom found some stationary bike pedals for me to use when I needed to read or study, and I can definitely say they have come in handy more times than I can remember.] So I always make sure I get up and move around, whether it is a stop during a car trip or on a plane ride. If I am in a place where I have the option to take public transportation or I can walk to get from place to place, I try and do as much walking as possible. It is a great way to see a city, plus it will easily help you stay active. Interestingly enough, two years ago when I was in Europe for a couple of weeks, I walked a lot with the group I was traveling with and I slept so well during that time because I would be pretty exhausted by the time I went to bed.

Time zone changes, particularly those where there is difference of several hours, are also something I’ve needed to allow myself time to get used to. I have found that it is helpful to give myself at least a day to catch up on sleep in these instances.

I know that each time I travel, it becomes easier to handle because I am always learning what helps and what doesn’t.

About the bloggerLast May, I graduated from college with a Bachelor of Arts and I'm planning to attend graduate school in the fall. In my free time I enjoy reading, watching movies, doing arts and crafts, going to concerts for bands I like, and spending time with friends and family. - Ali Dzienkowski