Travel has become a really big part of my life – and a part I don’t ever want to lose. Sometimes, though, anxiety gets the best of us – and nothing says “fun vacation” like hyper-ventilating through tears while curled up in a ball on your hotel floor. A day in the life of a traveler with anxiety can be rough.
Unfortunately, anxiety has also been a big part of my life, for a long time. The first time I full-on moved to another country, I was averaging about 4 anxiety attacks a week. K has been a real trooper through it all, and I’ve gotten a better handle on how to deal with the travel stress.
Everyone deals with anxiety differently, but here are 6 ways I’ve been able to cope with anxiety while travelling.
New situations, places and people are huge triggers for anxiety – and obviously when you’re traveling, these are all possibilities.
My best suggestion is bringing some “safe” things with you, wherever you travel – even if you’re just leaving the hotel for the day. An ipod with your favourite music on it, your mom’s purse, your best friends necklace, or the keychain that has your house key on it. All of these things remind you of safe places – and that can be super helpful.
PLANNING YOUR ITINERARY
The fear of the unknown is a trigger that even people who don’t struggle with anxiety face. Not knowing what will happen and/or not having control of a situation is something human beings aren’t used to.
I suggest planning your itinerary as much as you possibly can, down to even the hour (if that makes you feel more secure.) Arranging the days of your trip and planning the transportation are huge details that can make you feel more comfortable about being in a new place.
HAVE AN ‘IN CASE’ PLAN
Hopefully, your vacation will be filled with beaches, rum and good times – but our anxiety doesn’t make sense, and anxiety can happen at any time. Before you leave on your trip, ask yourself this; What do I do when I have an anxiety attack?
In my case, I like to count things, because you can’t be both hysterical and calm at the same time. You can’t be thinking logically and illogically at the same time – it just doesn’t work.
When you are planning your trip, make sure you have your exit plan if an attack should happen.
CHECK IN WITH SOMEONE
If you’re traveling with someone, let them know about your anxiety and have daily check in sessions. If anything is bothering you, you can share it and you (both) can be prepared for a possible attack.
Helpful tip – be aware who you travel with. That one friend that’s no good for your anxiety levels is not who you want to be stuck on a 10 day getaway with.
I began yoga about 5 months ago, and since have fallen in love with the practice – for many different reasons – but mainly because it’s an INSTANT release from anger and anxiety.
Going to the beach or stopping by that lake with the mountain view to do some yoga is an excellent way to keep yourself grounded and energized.
“IT’S A FEW DAYS AWAY” MENTALITY
Leave your home, work and school bullshit in the baggage line before you get on that plane. You don’t need your problems flying coach with you to Europe – you just don’t.
Put it in your mind that this is a get-away, and actually GET AWAY from the every day things that give you anxiety.