Post-covid holidays: natural ways to alleviate seasickness

After curbing our enthusiasm for travelling and vacationing during the pandemic, it is time to explore and go further afield again. Enjoying a luxury cruise or some sailing might be on the cards, but how can you ensure that you don’t suffer from seasickness after a long break from the water? Here, Jo Webber, Herbal Education Lead at Pukka Herbs, offers some tips.

The pandemic has held back many people’s holiday plans since it began in 2020, but now is the time to finally fit in that trip you have been dreaming of. And what better way to celebrate the return of travel and tourism than by getting away via a cruise or some sailing on the ocean?

While cruising has traditionally not been an eco-friendly holiday choice, things are changing in the industry. Many companies are using sustainable fuel options, and investing in water management systems onboard that make a cruise vacation kinder to the planet. Before choosing your holiday, you can take a look at a few different companies to see which ones are most sustainable. Whether you are an experienced boater, or just interested in trying something new, this is the perfect activity to enjoy the summer sunshine.

Experiencing some sea air and seeing some sights is sure to offer you the relaxing time away that you need. But how can you ensure that seasickness doesn’t get in the way of your enjoyment? Even people who have spent lots of time on the waves find that taking a long break often results in a bit of seasickness as they get back into the swing of things, so it’s useful to have some tips and options to alleviate it up your sleeve. Here, we’ll bring together some ideas to help you avoid that ‘new’ sailing feeling ruining your trip.

Look at the horizon

It might seem counter-intuitive, but it can often help to look at the horizon and the ocean speeding past if you are feeling seasick. This is because the key factor that causes motion sickness is the disconnect of feeling movement (sensed by your ears) and not being able to see that movement happening around you. So, you can often alleviate the sickness by looking out of a window or going to the deck of the ship where you can see outside. This allows your eyes to match the movement your body has been feeling, potentially reducing the symptoms.

So, when planning your trip, you can also try to arrange some time on deck — easily managed on a sailing boat where you might be on deck anyway — or book a cabin with a window if you are staying on board. If available, boarding near the middle of the boat will also help, as the sea-saw motion is minimised there.

Try herbal remedies

There are many herbs that can assist with the symptoms of seasickness as they relax the digestive muscles, and these can be easily taken with you on your trip. Ginger is well known for its ability to alleviate nausea (Healthline), which is one of the hallmarks of motion sickness. You can drink it as a comforting tea, or alternatively take some crystallised ginger with you as a snack for your journey. Peppermint is another herb that can reduce the feeling of nausea (Everyday Health) and this herb is also available to brew up in a warming tea that will help to settle your stomach while you’re on the boat.

Another great choice for herbal treatment of motion sickness symptoms is chamomile, which is very calming, making it ideal for getting you through your first trip on the sea after a long break. Lastly, fennel can help to soothe the digestive system too, so could be another good option — this is available both as an ingredient in many herbal teas and as lozenges (Healthline). You might also try using these herbs as essential oils through inhaling or using a roller ball. This is an easy way to take something with you when travelling to improve your journey.

Prepare for the journey

As well as making sure that you have some herbal remedies on-hand in case you feel ill, it is also useful to prepare a bit in advance of your boat trip, especially if you know that you are prone to seasickness. Measures that you can take beforehand include drinking lots of water to ensure that you are well hydrated and getting lots of sleep the night before travelling, as both will make you less vulnerable to symptoms.

You should also avoid spicy or greasy foods as well as alcohol as these can upset your stomach and make you more sensitive to the motion of the boat. Then, see if you can arrange to have a place onboard where you are able to lie down if you feel ill, as this position can sometimes help to settle your stomach more than sitting or standing up.

Avoid aggravating factors

When you are on the boat, it is useful to avoid things that might increase your feelings of nausea or trigger these symptoms starting in the first place. The first thing you should avoid if you are prone to feeling ill at sea is reading books or looking at screens, as concentrating your vision intently on things close to you tends to make things worse. Instead, focus on the horizon or things further away.

You should also avoid staying out in the sun without water, shade and sunscreen — dehydration will make falling sick more likely, so keep a bottle of water with you. And surprisingly, it might be a good idea to also stay away from other passengers who are feeling sick or talking a lot about their seasickness. Hearing about other people’s symptoms can pull us into worrying about whether we will feel ill too and actually hasten the onset of symptoms.

Getting back to vacationing is exciting, with many new choices for places to explore and activities to do. But seasickness can really put a dampener on your trip, so use these tips to get some ideas for how you can prevent and treat this common ailment.

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