Updated: Aug 4
This weekend, many of us will have an extra day off of work and the kids will have a day off from school. That means travel for a lot of us. Time away from the usual grind can provide a much-needed mental break for many of us, but traveling can also trigger stress and anxiety. Luckily, there are a few easy ways that can help reduce your travel-induced stress and keep you in control of your mental wellness.
Next time you go on vacation, try these six tips for maintaining your mental health while traveling:
Work Out Before a trip, you have a million things on your to-do list, but try to make time for a work out too. Exercising releases endorphins – naturally occurring chemicals in the brain that help improve mood. Exercising can also reduce stress and restlessness, and can even help maintain your sleep schedule, which is especially important for mental wellbeing.
Bring the Tunes Music is a great way to help you mentally escape a stressful situation and relax. Before your trip, make a playlist (or a few!) full of your favorite songs. Be sure to add songs that put you in a good mood, as well as relax you. That way, you’ll be prepared for every situation that comes your way.
Stick to Your Diet It may be tempting to put your diet on pause while you’re out of town, but try to not forget about it entirely. Studies have linked certain foods to brain health, and have even suggested that certain foods can help calm anxiety symptoms. So, help keep your mood balanced by keeping your diet balanced too.
Drink Water In addition to eating well, don’t forget to stay hydrated. Studies have shown that even mild dehydration can affect mood and energy. Whether you’re walking all over town or sitting still on a plane for hours, you’re at risk for becoming dehydrated. Try to make a conscious effort to drink water every half hour.
Plan Ahead Spontaneity can be fun when on vacation, but it can also be a source of anxiety for some people. If you’re someone who can get overwhelmed by unexpected changes or spontaneity, plan ahead. Map out your travel time; do some research about which spots you should visit once you arrive so you don’t have to wing it. If you have a hard time planning and organizing but want to give it a try, download a travel app to help guide you.
Breathe Remember that this is your time to relax and have some fun, new experiences. If you catch yourself feeling overwhelmed by everything you had planned, take some deep breaths and center yourself. If you have the freedom to alter plans, remind yourself that you can do just that. If you have to stick to a strict schedule, practice mindfulness as you go through your day. This will help you stay in the present and not get too lost in your thoughts.
Just like any other time in your life, it’s important when traveling to listen to your body and mind. Don’t be afraid to speak up and take mental breaks if you need them. Although some travel stress is unavoidable, you can tackle those hiccups with the set of coping tools that work best for you.
Eow, Kathy. (2017, February 17). “3 Ways to Manage Your Mental Health While Traveling.” Retrieved from https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2017/02/manage-your-mental-health-while-traveling.html
Greenstein, Laura. (2016, April 26). “Tips To Stay Mentally Healthy While Traveling.” Retrieved from https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/April-2016/Tips-to-Stay-Mentally-Healthy-While-Traveling
Rodriguez-Cayro, Kyli. (2018, February). “How To Take Care Of Your Mental Health While Traveling, According to Experts.” Retrieved from https://www.bustle.com/p/how-to-take-care-of-your-mental-health-while-traveling-according-to-experts-8330959