To me, jet lag manifests as an experience where my body and my mind each think they are in a different time zone. And as that happens, I am hungry at weird times ~ feel awake in the middle of the night, and sleep the day away... Often it takes a couple of days for my body and my mind to get on the same page again; to regain my rhythm.
It is interesting though that I seem to have jet lag less when I travel west, compared to when I travel east. Another thing that doesn’t strike me as logical is that the number of time zones I have crossed seems to have less to do with it than the direction traveled...
There are many ways in which people manage jet lag, I hear. From taking a melatonin food supplement, to adding light to the back of your knees, to setting your watch to the time zone you are traveling to the moment you board the aircraft (something that I actually do), to drinking lots of water (always a healthy choice, independent from the jet lag), to, and this may be the weirdest, wearing insoles in your shoes that you have cut out of brown paper bags.
And where some of these methods have an effect on your body chemistry, others seem to be mostly affecting your mind; the way you think about jet lag...
Having bounced back and forth to six time zones away recently, at the moment I do feel a little out of sorts. Having packed and unpacked a number of times in rapid succession makes me lose track a little bit as to what clothes are where, and yes, there are some things that have ended up in the bag packed for the weekend workshop that even surprise me a tiny bit (apart from having packed about twice as many clothes as I can possibly wear during one weekend.
This weekend workshop, my partner Sam and I are teaching in the Netherlands ~ the same time zone ~ and still it feels like I am in a different world yet again. This time because of a cultural difference between different parts of the same country. And although it doesn’t fit the definition of jet lag, it most certainly feels that way.
Putting all this together, it seems to me that jet lag is more than just the number of time zones one has traveled. It seems to indicate that part of the ‘jet lag experience’ has to do with the stress of not taking time to stand still for a moment. To take a deep breath, to look around, to enjoy the sunlight on your face ~ before you start moving again to the next appointment, the next obligation.
Could it be that easy? Can jet lag be countered by taking the time to smell the roses?