Australia, London, Travel, United Kingdom

The Jet Lag Monster


For this notoriously awful Jet Lag Monster this is how Jet Lag plays out:

Day One

I’m generally pretty okay on Day One.  I don’t sleep well on an aircraft (2-4 hours at the most even with sleeping pills) so that first night after landing I’ve always kept myself awake until a reasonable hour for bedtime (10/11pm) and then slept  well through the night for 8-12 hours.  With the promise of coffee (and lots of it) and a hubby who’s a gem and opens the blinds to let the sunlight in and get our circadian rhythms back on track this first day could easily lull me into a false sense of security.

Yesterday I managed to walk Master 10 to school (he’s a trooper and actually wanted to go to school…the other two kidlets declined the offer and watched telly on the couch all day) and even spoke to the school secretary for a whole 5 minutes without loosing the plot and talking gibberish.

During the rest of the day I managed to write a full post which as far as I can tell isn’t nonsensical and the luggage I dreaded unpacking eventually got done (albeit not until 10pm at night).  I won’t say I was particularly productive (sloooow) but I’ve been worse the morning after a bottle and a half of red wine.

Day One I don’t feel hungry at all.  Very out of character for me but I suspect my body can’t decide what meal its meant to be eating and just kicks up a stink.

I felt like I was going to pass out at around 7pm but kept plodding on and went to bed later that night.

Day Two

The emotional rollercoaster begins.

This morning this involved a complete teary breakdown because the kids were 15 minutes late for school.  I may have been hysterically screeching about the humiliation and how its all just too much to handle whilst bawling my already puffy eyes out.

Yes, I’m not exaggerating.  It’s times like this that its handy having been married for a long time to a  man who has seen you have a jet lag meltdown at least once before.  He barreled down the stairs and let me sob like I’d just discovered my whole family had died a painful and horrific death into his chest whilst ushering the kids out the door.

I walked Master 5 to school (the other two were eager to escape the crazy lady and walked ahead to school without me) and signed him in at the office.  I held it together in the office and then bawled my eyes out on the walk home.  Why?  Because it was the poor childs first day of Year One and not only is he starting school a week later then everyone else due to our holiday but now he’s late on his first day.  He also pulled the, “I don’t want to go to school” and tried to bolt out of the office the second we walked in and the guilt settled on top of me like a tonne of bricks and I exploded in a very unattractive and snotty display of tears.

Day Three

I’m not there yet, but from previous experience Day Three is when the fatigue hits.  The emotional rollercoaster begins to draw to an end (though it doesn’t take much to set me off).  Getting out of bed feels painful.  Walking from your bedroom to the bathroom feels painful.  Thinking, yep it feels painful too and caffeine is certainly your best friend on Day Three but it won’t make enough of a difference to qualm the haze of fatigue.

Day Four

You’ll hopefully (fingers crossed) awake feeling almost normal on Day Four.  A moody monster like me will still want to avoid moping around and feeling sorry for yourself in case the spiral into the crazy depths of depression begins again but all in all you’re past the worst of it.

Tips for Battling Jet Lag

  • Coffee – (’nuff said)
  • Sunlight – As much as you want to hide under your blanket and sleep for another 12 hours you need to open those blinds/curtains and stare the new day in the face (with your coffee cup gripped between your limp fingers)
  • Eat – I’m a lover of all things food at any other time but when I’m jet lagged eating becomes a chore.  When I arrived in London for the first time in 2009 I stopped eating.  I was already emotionally volatile having left my kids back in Australia with my Mother-in-law but not eating made me turn a special kind of depressed that was new for me.  Depression has never equaled not eating for me (the complete opposite in fact) but when I was jet lagged and was not hungry I just stopped eating.  So my suggestion would be, eat.  Even if you’re not hungry, make yourself eat breakfast that first morning.
  • Hydrate – You wouldn’t think sitting in a seat for over 20 hours would dehydrate you but it absolutely does.  Dehydration will make you feel fatigued and foggy headed so you don’t want that on top of already feeling deathly tired.
  • Get Active – I’m not going to tell you to go for a jog or even a long walk (mwahahahaa) but get up and get yourself breakfast and stand in the sunshine for a few minutes.  Talk to someone (your partner, extended family or if you’re that way inclined the check out chick or the waitress when you get your breakfast/lunch/dinner).  Keeping your brain active will help just as much as moving your body.  If you are a fitness freak by all means go for a run (pfft, so not me).
  • Your Alarm Clock is your Friend – set your alarm clock and make yourself get up at a reasonable time.  You don’t want to be waking at 4am but you also don’t want to be getting up at midday.  Both will end in disaster.
  • Be Patient with Yourself – Jet Lag is a part of International Travel and unless you’re a weirdo (hello hubby and my darling Mother-in-law) who doesn’t really get much Jet Lag at all, then you aren’t going to be at your best for a few days after arriving.

Here’s hoping I can make it back to school to pick the kids up without another meltdown.  Aaaaah!

3 thoughts on “The Jet Lag Monster”

  1. O-M-G! You took ALL that! And didn’t lose anything? No wonder you’re exhausted! Hauling just that alone will take the life out of you let alone the trip itself!

    I will keep this in mind when I come over the pond. I’ve never had jet lag.I’m pretty wired after a very long drive from somewhere. I’m a pretty hyper person so I can’t imagine what jet lag would do to me.

    Luckily, you don’t do this on a monthly or yearly basis. At least with the kids in school you have time to yourself and can bawl your eyes out as long as you want til they come home.

  2. You’ve got that right 😛 The trip there was made so much easier by travelling light. We brought a lot of old (and very much missed) toys, books and other junk in our luggage on the trip back to London. It’s good to have it all here now, but I NEVER want to do that again.

    Hopefully the jet lag won’t be quite as nasty for you 🙂 You might be one of the lucky ones that manages it all with a smile on her face (I wish that were me). You’re on the East coast of the U.S too aren’t you? So that gives you a fighting chance travelling to the U.K without too much jet lag too.

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