Most of our articles focus on physical health, but every now and then we find it worthwhile to focus on the mental side of things. Whether you experience anxiety on a day to day basis or not, travel can quickly spike your level of unease. For some people, it’s flying on a plane. For others, it’s interacting with strangers in a new environment. In this post, we will share a few strategies for dealing with anxiety in general while traveling.
Know what causes your anxiety
More often than not, anxiety can be traced to specific fears. Knowing your specific fears and triggers is important for figuring out how to deal with them. The best way to do evaluate this is by putting everything on paper. Don’t hold back, either. List all of your fears and be as specific as possible. It’s not as if you need to worry about other people seeing this list, so be thorough. Acknowledging your fears is the first step to figuring out how to get over them.
Plan in advance
If you have identified specific fears, you can start planning out how you will deal with them. For example, if it’s fear of traveling alone or interacting with strangers, see if you can travel with a friend for your first trip. Or, if you want to take your first solo trip, look into a group trip that will allow you some time to be independent while also providing the support of a guide and the social possibilities of a group dynamic.
Planning in advance does not mean analyzing your fears and anxieties. That is work you can do in a psychiatrist’s office. Planning for your fears is about figuring out how you can travel in maximum comfort.
Start small and work your way up
For your first trip, look into something with a short duration and perhaps a destination that is not very far from home. This way, you have a concrete timeframe to deal with and it is manageable. At the same time, the fact that you are not that far from home will be reassuring. As you start to travel more often, you can expand the length of your trips and work your way up.
Work in some down-time while traveling
Instead of following a jam packed itinerary every day, deliberately plan some down time that will allow you to relax with a book, the television, or your headphones. This is good advice whether you deal with anxiety or not, but it can especially important if you find your self uneasy or uncomfortable. Remember, a vacation is not supposed to be stressful and you shouldn’t feel guilty for missing an afternoon of sightseeing if it means that you can reset your emotional balance.
If you have any tips to share for traveling with anxiety, please leave them in the comments below.
Photo credit: flickr user Peter Albrecht