Even seasoned travelers can feel anxious from time to time. After all, no matter how much you’ve traveled, it’s rare that you’ll ever feel like you’ve ‘completed’ exploring this Earth, or that you can ever feel like you know everything there is to know. The very nature of travel implies that there’s something out there worth seeing that you haven’t had the chance to encounter as of yet.
When travel anxiety hits you, it can hit hard. This may sometimes mean that you feel less inclined to go out there and have an adventure. It can tire you out, and make you feel a little bit out of sorts. In some cases, it may leave you feeling like you want to return home, despite having already paid for and experiences most of the trip.
Some anxiety is natural. If you’re on a safari to see lions in their natural habitat, odds are your heart rate will elevate just a little. But if it starts to harm your trips, especially if you’ve had little reason to feel worried about this in the past, then it stands to reason that you’ll try and become proactive about the issue at hand. In this post, we’ll discuss how to achieve that and more:
Take A Breather
Sometimes, anxiety may show that you’re not getting enough sleep, that you’re overdoing it, and perhaps you need to slow down a little. This is especially true if you find yourself up at all hours of the day, spending a good amount of time in bars, or perhaps exploring locations that are less safe than they perhaps should be for tourists.
Don’t be afraid to take a break from time to time. Even those with true nomadic interests need to relax and take a rest once in a while. It’s a healthy approach to take. If you can go into your next adventure feeling well-rested, you may have a much better time of things.
Visit The Doctors
Anxiety is sometimes symptomatic of a larger medical issue. It may not be, of course, and we hope not to worry you, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t suggest you at least have this checked out. Your doctor will ask when the symptoms started, if they happen at any time of day, any lifestyle factors you’ve changed lately (like taking new medication), and perhaps help you with certain medications.
Consider Herbal Remedies & Supplements
It can be helpful to find a nice herbal remedy that helps treat your symptoms without relying on pharmaceutical drugs to treat the problem. So for example, valerian root tablets are completely natural, and are known to provide mind relief from sleeplessness and anxiety. This may help you finally fall asleep on the plane without having to take ‘sleeping tablet,’ as it were, or relying on unhealthy coping mechanisms like alcohol.
At other times, you might decide to use Delta 8 THC Vape Carts in order to relax more comfortably, or CBD products that help you gain a sense of full body wellbeing.
Use a Fidget Toy or Fidget Ring
If you would rather avoid doctors or supplements, calm restless hands and minds with a fidget ring, fidget spinner or toy. Instead of nervous habits such as finger biting and foot tapping, find instant stress and anxiety relief by fidgeting or spinning. Unlike fidget spinners, fidget jewelry is more discrete to play with.
Return To Familiar Locations
Not every travel experience needs to be a life-affirming, memory-defining and redemptive adventure. It’s fine to just go somewhere you like to relax and perhaps enjoy some better weather than you usually have access to at home.
Many experienced travelers can find themselves looking down on travel experiences like heading to a warm country and spending time next to a resort pool for a week, or opting for all-inclusive travel packages that determine where you have to be and when. But is there anything necessarily wrong with these? Not at all. Sometimes, having a vacation where you don’t have to plan every single minute detail is truly peaceful.
Consider Who You Travel With
Certain travel experiences will feel more or less stressful depending on who you go with. This is natural. Anyone who has tried to take a couple of their children, alone, on a twelve-hour flight to another continent no doubt knows how focused they have to be at all times, even though on the surface, heading to the airport, sitting down on the plane, and then getting a taxi to your hotel doesn’t sound too physically strenuous.
Does this mean you should never travel with those you’re responsible for? Of course not. But it could mean that asking for a travel partner, breaking a trip into sections to make it more manageable, or preparing in advance (such as purchasing a row of seats for you so you can be more comfortable) will be more worthwhile.
Plan More Readily
It’s easy to think of seasoned travelers as those who become fully adept at planning every second of their itinerary. This can be the case. However, it’s also true that those who are well-versed in heading from place to place tend to play a little more fast and loose with their schedule depending on their needs. Perhaps you’ll just go where you feel like it, or aren’t afraid of impromptu trips.
From time to time, this can hit you and make you realize that actually, having a plan B is a good idea. So, if you do feel that travel anxiety creeping in, see if better determining your schedule could help. Having that kind of framework to encourage your forward action can be fun, and worthwhile in the long run.
Express Your Anxieties
There’s no shame in having anxiety, nor travel anxiety, even if you’ve rarely had it in the past. The difficult issue most people have with anxiety, that only escalates its intensity, is thinking that they shouldn’t be feeling it. You can’t think or rationalize your way out of anxiety. This is why expressing your feelings with a travel partner or your family can help you take a step back. Perhaps instead of bungee jumping that day, you can go for a nice cafe breakfast and postpone that event for another time.
If you’re open about your anxiety, you can tell your travel partner when it gets a little too much. Having a trusted friend like this that understands can limit the effects of the anxiety, and perhaps you can even joke about it when it’s present.
Consider The Extra Symptoms Of Travel Anxiety
Anxiety can be a symptom, but it can also be a cause. For example, many people who experience anxiety when exploring the world find that they encounter issues such as nausea, and certainly travel sickness when in a vehicle or enclosed space.
It can’t hurt to treat those symptoms directly to take the edge off. In this case, motion sickness tablets or patches, and even ingredients like ginger (ginger tea can help) will allow you to relax a little more, and prevent the feeling of your stomach doing somersaults.
Focus On Your Sleep
Near the beginning of this post, we discussed that poor sleep can have an effect on the anxiety we feel, but it’s important to go over this point in more depth. Travel is a tiresome experience. It can wear down your energy levels, gradually, over time. Even if you feel pretty energetic, the strain of traveling for miles and miles can make you feel a little out of sorts.
On top of that, sleeping somewhere new can also limit how deeply we sleep, because our bodies are primed to be more aware when in a new location. Of course, we all know that early morning exploration and late night fun comes part and parcel with heading abroad, as we hope to maximize each day we’ve paid for. As such, it’s not uncommon for some people to gain four hours of sleep on a cyclical basis.
This prevents your brain from correctly restoring itself night after night. Keep this up for long enough, and it’s probably not surprising that this can lead to anxiety. So – while we’re not suggesting you can handwave an anxiety issue with sleep, you should definitely consider it as a cause, and really be honest with how much beauty rest you’re permitting yourself to have.
Take It Seriously
Anxiety, as difficult as it can be, is something you can become accustomed to. This is not a healthy way of living for the most part, because your cortisol levels raise when you’re stressed, and again, it can affect your sleep and general well-being.
If you do notice that your anxiety is affecting your enjoyment, don’t be afraid to address it. Try not to suppress it. This can only lead to poor health effects. Like stress, sometimes prolonged unaddressed anxiety can lead to issues that you may not have been expecting – such as unprovoked panic attacks. Remember that you’re not weak, silly or dramatic for experiencing anxiety or needing to manage it, you’re just a normal person with a (often temporary) condition to take care of.
With this advice, you’re sure to calm your travel anxiety as much as possible. Please make sure to moderate this advice in line with the guidance your medical professional provides you, always deferring to their judgment first and foremost.