Dealing with Anxiety and Stress while Travelling (Mental Health Awareness Week)

This week is Mental Health Awareness week, and we wanted to acknowledge that with a relevant blog post.

I (Rachel) have suffered from anxiety for most of my life, and have found various ways of coping with this, from medication to counselling and more. Something that has always helped me is travel, dreaming of travel, writing about travel…even saving money for travel! Focusing on my favourite thing is definitely a help to me, as I can tick attaining my goals off my worry list.

So what happens when we suffer from stress and anxiety while travelling? We all know that the white beach photographs of Instagram don’t display the reality of travel, and that before that smiling image there was a period of time where that person was dragging their rucksack around a new city, trying to find a hostel. Searching for accommodation alone, there are many elements to travel that can cause stress and anxiety, and though it makes the relaxing moments sweeter, it can still be tough to deal with these feelings on the road. Here are some of our top tips for finding calm within yourself while travelling.

Talk:

Talking through your concerns or current fears is an effective way to unleash that burden. You could be worried about any number of things, but finding someone to chat to will help you feel so much better. Travelling alone? You can still talk, sit next to someone a train and make a new friend. Or, if you are feeling quiet and don’t want to talk to anyone right now (as I often do), try writing instead. It really has a similar impact on your levels of stress, and can help you think through the problems as you write.

Stay in Touch with Home:

Travelling can be an amazing adventure, but don’t forget about those loved ones back home. They can help you deal with anxiety and stress on the road too, even if they aren’t experiencing it with you. A telephone call to your best friend, mother or partner can remind you of how much you are loved. Yes, you made the choice to travel the world, but it doesn’t mean you are alone.

Organise:

Triggers can come in many shapes and sizes, and for me, it doesn’t help to have no plans whatsoever. I need some structure in my life! Even if it is just planning a week at a time, this can help me with anxiety and stress. If you are feeling overly concerned about not having your travel goals set, sit down and take some time out to plan your week. It can really take the pressure off.

Some people do thrive on the idea of not knowing where they are going – and this may be you! It’s all about knowing yourself and understanding those triggers.

Treat Yourself:

Yes, you are saving money, and yes, for the last week you have been digging into that bag of bread for dinner and wistfully staring at people eating huge bowls of noodles in restaurant windows. But there is no point in forcing yourself to suffer on the other side of the world (let alone miss out on some amazing food or experiences) just for the sake of £10. If you are feeling rubbish, treat yourself. Buy that bowl of noodles, get a Thai massage. Remind yourself that you are travelling for you.

Take a Day Off:

If Daniel had his way we would travel travel travel and walk walk walk day in day out. He would have me walking up mountains from dawn to dusk. But NO! I cannot handle such things. Yes, for a few days it is wonderful, but not all the time. Sometimes I need a day off, which means lying on the beach, eating some pizza, and watching Seinfeld. I am who I am, and that person needs to chill out from time to time. You need to have days off to refuel. Don’t push yourself so hard that you burn out and cause yourself more anxiety. Take some time to breathe. That golden Buddha can wait another day.

 

What are your tricks and tips for dealing with anxiety and stress while travelling?

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