Tips to Prevent Travel Anxiety
Do you ever get really excited to go away on vacation, or go away for a long weekend, and then become totally seized with anxiety right before it’s time to go? Whether your anxiety is due to flying, packing, leaving your kids/family, animals, plants, or whatever makes your freeze up, it is a real life issue and more people than you might realize are affected by these fears, even if they don’t have a diagnosed anxiety disorder. There are some tips that you can use to help to decrease your anxiety and make trips and traveling MUCH more enjoyable.
1. Organize: Make lists of what you need to pack and everything you need to do before you go. You will feel more in control if you know that, in advance, you made a list of everything that needed to be completed, and you took care of all of it. So you can be ready and leave for your trip, assured that you are totally prepared.
2. Medicate: If you have a diagnosed anxiety disorder, and take medications to treat it, discuss with your Healthcare Practitioner (HCP) the possibility of increasing your medication dosage in times of high stress, or when the appropriate time to dose your medication is, so that you remain calm and clear when traveling.
3. Avoid Caffeine: Caffeine can make you more anxiety ridden, even though it helps to keep you awake and give you more energy. That extra bit of stimulant can help you finish all of your last-minute errands, but it can also cause some anxious moments.
4. Know your Triggers: What causes your anxiety? What are your triggers? Maybe it is that last-minute frenzy, or saying goodbye to your family….realize that and plan accordingly. If you need more time to say goodbye, plan for it. If you need to pack way ahead of time, to ward off panic attacks and anxiety, pack two weeks ahead. Whatever makes you the most nervous, plan for it, because you will be less anxious if you are prepared, and no one knows you better than yourself.
5. Try to Relax: Easier said than done, but try to meditate, listen to white noise, go for a long run (or whatever your preferred choice of exercise is) that morning to help clear your head. Take a bath with lavender essential oils, or get a massage; whatever techniques work for you to help ease your mind and slow/prevent anxiety attacks.
6. Be Open: Most importantly, don’t suffer alone. If you are traveling with others, let them know that sometimes you get anxiety when traveling and let them know what they can do to help you (if even it is to leave you alone to figure it out yourself.) That way, they know what may be causing you to act a little different from your normal self, and you don’t have to feel like you are hiding anything….which can cause anxiety in and of itself!
I don’t really get anxious….unless I’m late for my flight/missing my flight; that can cause me to lose my cool! I also always feel really guilty leaving my dogs. It is totally irrational guilt because they love staying with their trainer, and they have no idea what’s going on; the stress is all me, and I project it on them, but I’ve come to realize that I do it, SO I prepare and make sure that I have them all situated, then I get back to finish packing and head to the airport with plenty of time, and I am cool as a cucumber. All that stated, I don’t have an anxiety disorder, just normal stress, but I have learned what causes me undue stress and I work with it to decrease it as much as possible.
Traveling is never easy, but knowing what causes you to lose your cool, and preventing it, is one way to make the experience a LOT better. And if you are someone who really freezes when traveling (due to fear of a plane, flying, etc) you can work with your HCP to try hypnotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, or talk therapy and see what will best fit your needs and re-train your thinking, to make traveling a breeze.
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