The worldwide web is full of information. As the Information Age gathers pace the quality of that information becomes critical. Re-hashing old and outdated information just doesn’t cut it anymore. Especially when we have a way to experience the cutting edge on a live medium like the worldwide web. The sheer scale of information available makes for lots of opportunity and creation in many fields and disciplines.
Why then do we see the same old information about jet lag being trotted out by “expert” after “expert.” As a crew member for the airline industry it is painful to see that the core advice given to fliers has not changed in over thirteen years. Dated advice doesn’t improve with age, it isn’t like old wine.
Fliers are being short-changed. I take it personally because I see the effects of long-term flying weekly at the airline I work for. Too many people appear on the stay in-touch obituary board due to illnesses and cancer. Too many of my female colleagues struggle with conceiving children because long haul travel upsets the delicate balance of hormones within the body. Many others have to keep working constantly at maintaining their weight without the knowledge that their hormone picture is probably part of the difficulty in shedding excess fat.
The standard advice to drink plenty of water, keep your mind active and get plenty of rest needs updating. Repeating it across the advice forums on the web and by rote doesn’t make it better. Just as no one is still using an Atari or Commodore computer so we too have to upgrade the tools in our life to get the best results.
Any frequent flier can tell you that most of the information bandied about by the experts doesn’t fit their lifestyle. What good are tools that don’t fit the way you live? These solutions yield short-term results that are obtainable but not sustainable and as a result old habits get the upper hand after a while. If you fly often this isn’t good enough.
Paradoxically just as Technology can drive us apart it also brings us together. It allows us to collaborate across the globe. The knowledge we have at our disposal in the aviation industry and other disciplines is available to us for collaboration. Why are we using it?
Jet lag has been left alone too long with the weak assertion that it is part of the terrain. Its mechanism’s are poorly understood by the average person and the airline industry alike. What other reason can you give for some of the practices you see taking place on airlines these days. The rethink has to include all parties and airlines have to acknowledge that their duty of care extends beyond getting you from A to B.
Jet lag needs a new conversation. It needs new breath and creative thinking. A shift in how we look at the problem is the best place to start and will yield the best kinds of questions and answers. As Globalization engulfs us and the world gets smaller some transactions will still need the visceral touch of being there in person. As Technology plays a greater role in the lives we lead we will crave the magic of presence. What good is that presence if we are not present.
The long-term chronic damage that jet lag inflicts on fliers is avoidable through education and self-interest. Education in choosing a new context. Self interest in recognizing what it is you have come to do here and making sure you increase your health and vitality in the process. The cost of doing nothing is unthinkable for the individual and corporations. At a time when people are evaluating work/life balance no one wants a job that robs them of the joy of the fruits of their labor. The costs are too high in productivity and in health.
The aviation industry could do more but they are reeling from acute to chronic crises. Nine eleven, stock market crashes, terrorist attacks and all time high fuel prices to name a few. The political will is absent in the face of scientific evidence that now confirms what many have known all along. Flying isn’t only unhealthy it is vitality sapping and should come with a sanctioned health warning. You complete the trio. As you live in the twenty-first century with all its advances gadgetry and technology will you rise above the impact of EMF’s in your life. It is this same energy, ionizing and non-ionizing radiation that it silently affecting your health.
This is a new but vital way of looking at jet lag and flying. Not just the radiation you deal with in the air but the total foot print it leaves on you and how you live your life in the digital age. This is the new battle ground, jet lag needs a new conversation and it needs it now!