Anxiety is difficult enough to deal with under normal circumstances, let alone travelling! But despite many people telling me that I would struggle to travel with my anxiety, I’ve managed to enjoy it beyond belief. Travelling has given me reason to step outside my comfort zone and be more of myself than I am at home.
I’ve battled with anxiety for years and it hasn’t always made travelling difficult. For me it depends on a number of factors like my hypothyroidism and particular triggers which seem to change on their own accord. Here’s how I cope with my anxiety when I travel.
- Plan, plan, plan
I need to have a detailed itinerary of where I’m going to be and when. For that reason, I prefer to plan my own holidays so I know what’s going on. I like to have as much booked in advance as possible so that there are little to no chances of things going wrong on the actual holiday. It’s much easier to deal with plans changing from the comfort of home.
- Remember to breathe
It’s important for me to give myself time out on a holiday. I need to have some down time and space to breath. David and I prefer to stay in a city for a few days and explore from there so we have a point to return to at the end of each day. Being on the constant move is exhausting and tends to trigger my anxiety. Don’t try and pack too much in to your itinerary so you have time to relax.
- Limit the number of flights
I tend to get pretty bad anxiety when it comes to landing in a plane. There’s a little voice in my head that won’t let me believe that it’s all going to be OK. For that reason, we try to limit the number of internal flights we have to take, instead relying on trains, buses and cars.
- Set a routine
I find it helps me to have a general routine when I travel. Not only does it mean I can ensure I get enough sleep every night, but it also makes me more comfortable about going out and conquering a new city. Try setting your alarm for the same time every morning. For me, that’s when I have to get up and take my medication. Sticking to this will help you feel less stressed out about seeing and doing everything in your itinerary.
- Avoid your triggers
Confined spaces, loud noises, bright flashing lights and running late are some of the triggers I still have to face when I’m travelling but I try to do what I can to avoid them as much as possible. Japan was one of the countries I struggled with most, dealing with packed trains and flashing lights on a daily basis. But by getting out of bed early and beating the peak hour rush, I was able to manage it.
Anxiety doesn’t have to stop you from conquering the world. I’ve had an incredible time travelling around the world. I’ve made friends, done things I wouldn’t have even dreamed of doing and managed to find time to relax. I’m constantly planning the next adventure because I can’t wait to go!
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