Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat are flooded with images of our friends living it up with jet-setting “hypermobile” lifestyles. Travel has become the new defining factor of social status with everyone vying to have the most glamourous images of their travels. This phenomenon is so common that it now has its own term FOMO, meaning “fear of missing out”. In fact, a study by Scope shows that over half of all social media users say that they feel inadequate about their own life and achievements and that looking at their friends’ pics makes them feel jealous of their lives. But what exactly are you missing out on?
Frequent Flying Isn’t All It’s Made Out To Be
There is a dark side to this ‘glamorized’ hypermobile lifestyle that the media, and society ignores – Dr. Scott Cohen, University of Surrey
First-class flights, ‘must-see’ destinations, and frequent-flyer programs make it easier to combine business and pleasure and it’s easy to get caught up in the allure and thrill of travelling (and to be able to “beat” your friends’ travel pics) which is why we overlook how it impacts our health. Dr. Scott Cohen from the University of Surrey has conducted a study on long-distance travel and social media and says, “There is a dark side to this ‘glamorized’ hypermobile lifestyle that the media, and society ignores”.
How The Hypermobile Lifestyle Affects Your Health
According to Dr. Cohen, “Social media encourages competition between travelers to ‘check-in’ and share content from far-flung destinations. The reality is that most people who are required to engage in frequent travel suffer high levels of stress, loneliness and long-term health problems”. Here’s how traveling frequently can adversely affect your health.
Jet lag is the most common side effect of flying and often causes problems like fatigue and indigestion, which can be particularly problematic; not to mention embarrassing, when you are frazzled with locating your luggage and making your way to your hotel.
Frequent flying also messes up your sleep patterns so even though you are bone-tired, you are unable to get the sleep that you so desperately need and crave. You are also likely to experience fatigue, headaches, and irritability. You might try to brush this off by assuring yourself that these effects will only last a day but studies show that they can affect you for more than 6 days from the day you land!
Stress and Anxiety
A study showed that World Bank staff who traveled for work had a 300% higher rate of psychological medical claims as compared to those who did not travel. The stress of worrying about accommodation and luggage issues combined with the uncertainty of the outcome of your business meetings will thwart any illusion of relaxation that you might have entertained.
Frequent travelling can expose you to greater risk of infection, as you are unlikely to have immunity to diseases that are endemic to the region you visit. There is also a higher chance of infections in-flight, with a study in the Journal of Environmental Health Research showing that the risk of picking up a cold is significantly higher for fliers.
While some of the risks of frequent flying and overseas travel may seem scary, you shouldn’t panic too much. Increased awareness about the health risks of travel will allow you to take steps to better safeguard your health as you continue with your globetrotting. Just remember, travelling isn’t all it’s made out to be, so try to cram as many meetings as you can into a single trip, instead of flying as frequently.