Taking the Stress out of Traveling
With holiday season fast approaching, some of you might be feeling the pressure. While most of us enjoy going on holiday, it can be stressful for many people who experience things like stress and anxiety. There’s the planning, the money, the packing, the travelling, and the anxiety of being in a place you aren’t familiar with. So how can you manage this stress and just enjoy your holiday? Carry on reading for my top tips!
- Get organised. Don’t leave anything to the last minute (unless you’ve booked a last minute deal, of course). Make sure all your travel plans, packing, and paperwork are dealt with well in advance. If you’re flying, make sure all your documents are ready and you know where they are. If you’re driving, make sure you have petrol, water, etc. You don’t want to be rushing around at 5am in the morning, an hour before you’re leaving, wondering where you put your passport!
- Expect stress to be there. It’s highly unlikely that your entire holiday will go perfectly with no problems. Your flight might be delayed, it might take you ages to drive because your kids keep asking for a toilet break, etc. If you expect stress to be there, and plan for how you’re going to handle it, you’ll be armed and ready.
- Take it one step at a time. Say for example, you are flying to Spain. Don’t get up at 3am in the morning and think, “Ok I need to get myself and the kids dressed, I need to pack the car, I need to drive to (and find) Heathrow, I need to find the car park, I need to check-in, I need to get through security…” because you’re bound to get stressed when you’re thinking all of that. If you’ve done your packing and preparation properly, you just need to take everything one step at a time: things are much more manageable that way!
- Keep yourself entertained. I frequently fly alone due to being in a long-distance relationship, and despite my history with anxiety, I actually quite enjoy it. The above points still apply when you’re travelling alone, but also make sure you have things to do if you are travelling a long way or you’re on a long haul flight. For me, there is nothing worse than sitting on an 8 hour flight with nothing to keep my mind busy, because my mind often finds worrying as a way of being busy! If you’re travelling with others, you’ll at least have people to talk to.
- Continue with your self-care. Woo! You’re on holiday! Celebrate the fact that you’ve made it and you handled your stress in the process. However, the work might not be over yet. If you know you’re prone to struggling with stress, anxiety or low mood on holiday, make sure you keep up with your self-care, whatever that involves. I know from personal experience I am always more anxious when I’m abroad so I keep using the techniques I know help me to stay in control even when I’m on holiday. If you need help learning how to manage things, our free Mindfulness and Stress Control courses can help.
So there you have it, those are my five top tips for managing stress when you’re going on holiday. Wherever you’re going this Summer, I hope you have a great time!
By Bethan Jones
Well-being Course Practitioner