March is one of the busiest travel months of the year, so I thought it was fitting to discuss travel anxiety.
Before you ask, YES, travel anxiety is a real thing.
For me travel anxiety has nothing to do with a fear of flying or anything of that nature. Rather, my anxiety stems from my need for CONTROL. I want to be prepared, organized, and in control of the whole trip, and so this comes with some unwanted stress and anxiety about traveling in general. Releasing control and perfectionism is one of my main goals this year, but it has been something that I have been working on for years.
So, in today’s post I will share with you all some of my tips when dealing with vacation anxiety. But, before we jump in be sure to follow my Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest to get more updates from me on my day to day life.
1. Get Ahead on Work
It can be very easy to get overly stressed out about a vacation because you are worried about all the work you will be missing. That is why it is so important to make a list of all the things that you MUST get done before you go on vacation. That way you can eliminate any stress from work or school.
Start by writing out a list of things that you get done in a typical week at your work or school. Then prioritize these items. Get ahead on what is IMPORTANT and you will feel much better about taking your well deserved time off.
2. Change Your Mindset
It can be easy to think of vacation as “useless time” and for people like myself that are always go, go, go it can be hard to chill. So, it is important to change your mindset and think of vacation as “useful time”. Vacation allows you the time to recharge, gain new perspective, and become reinspired. This is much needed time to get out of your typical routine and shake things up. So, next time you start to have negative thoughts creep into your mind about vacation, think of it as productive time for your mind and body to recharge.
3. Write It Out
If you have noticed already I am a big fan of journaling and writing to help process my emotions. I think that getting all your thoughts onto paper is a great way to think rationally about what is worrying you.
A. Write a Pros and Cons List:
I personally like to write out a pros and cons list for my travels every time I go away. This helps me to see what are my top worries and what are my top benefits. From here I can try to find solutions and action steps for my top worries.
B. Create Action Steps/Solutions:
For example, my worries could include, not getting enough work done, missing sleep, getting sick, etc. From there I will map out strategies to tackle these worries. If I am worried about work, I can plan to work extra in the weeks leading up to the vacation. If I am worried about missing sleep, I can plan my vacation with scheduled days to sleep in. If I am worried about getting sick, I can be sure to pack all the necessary medication in advance if I do get sick.
C. Save a Copy:
By making a plan for all of my top worries I am able to resolve some of the negative thoughts swirling in my brain. But, I am also able to see all of the benefits and positives for this trip. If it helps keep the list of pros and cons as well as action steps on your phone. That way you can always look back on the list if you start to develop anxiety.
4. Pack and Live Out of Your Suitcase
One of my biggest worries for vacationing is forgetting something. Even though I know that most places I travel to will have everything I need, I still like to be uber prepared with everything I am bringing. In order to make sure I have EVERYTHING, I started living out of my suitcase the day before I go on vacation. That means I pack everything at least two days in advance and live solely out of my suitcase for those days. By doing so I can easily see if I am missing something, because I am going through my normal routine at home.
In order to make the packing process easier, I have made a copy of my master packing list in a previous blog post, make sure to check it out here.
5. Bring Comfort Items
Traveling can spark anxiety for some because it is a new and unfamiliar location. So, to combat this anxiety, I think it is really important to bring items from home that bring you comfort. These could be pictures of family, a movie, some bubble bath, your favorite blanket, fuzzy socks, etc. Whatever it may be, make sure that you leave some space in your suitcase for some comfort items. These items will really help to ease anxiety if it does strike during travels.
For me, I personally like to bring my heating pack everywhere I go. This may be solely out of habit from before surgery when I used to get terrible bloating. But, I think it also is a bit of a security blanket. I usually never end up using it, but I am always glad I had it.
6. Plan a Buffer Day When You Return
One of my biggest stresses about my vacations is coming home. I know that when I get home, a million and one things will be there waiting for me. That is why, I always try to plan at least a half a day or full day buffer after a vacation. This allows me to take my time to unpack and get my life back in order.
For some this may mean taking an extra day off of work, which may be difficult. But, it may be worth it if this is one of your biggest stresses.
I hope that these tips and tricks can help some of you that may be dealing with anxiety surrounding travel. But, before you go, you may like some of the articles below when it comes to travel and anxiety: