Travelling With Anxiety

I want to thank Jojo Hall for her great guest post on travelling with anxiety. The hints and tips will help those prepare for travelling to destinations, and managing anxiety when there.

Have you ever traveled with someone and had anxiety over traveling with them? Like, has your heart raced because you thought everyone was going to be late for that flight? Have a thousand thoughts raced across your mind when your mood was disrupted by an activity you did? Or maybe you’re feeling more depressed, angry, or upset because of situations that arise while you’re traveling?

Traveling is such a fun, rewarding, and fulfilling thing to do. What’s not to love? You get to explore new locations, try new activities, and meet some wonderful people along the way. However, if you have anxiety or any type of mental illness, then traveling brings about another type of experience.

Navigating your daily life with mental illness is a struggle itself. When you’re traveling to new and unfamiliar destinations, can be stressful and scary. For some people, this can bring about mild to severe changes in their mood, thoughts, behaviors, and overall mentality of traveling.

What Is Mental Illness?

clockwork head

Mental illness, as defined by the ASA, is a condition regarding changes in a person’s emotions, thinking, or behaviour. A person’s mental disorder can affect how they perceive and respond to their environment. These perceptions and responses can take shape in many ways. For example, a person’s sleep can be affected, their thinking, or their ability to cope with stressful situations. Essentially, a mental illness can affect a person’s mood, ability to think, feel and interact with others.

In addition, mental illness can become present in anyone. It does not discriminate and can be present in any gender, race, ethnicity, or age group. Mental illnesses can afflict people at different stages throughout their life. But where does it come from? Well, one may have a mental illness as a result of their family history, genetics, trauma, their environment, or some type of deficit in the brain’s chemistry.

Some examples of mental illness diagnosis according to WebMD are:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Mood disorders
  • Psychotic disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Addiction disorders
  • PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
  • Dissociative disorders
  • Personality disorders

The list goes on when it comes to mental illness, this post would be too long if we included all the disorders out there.

Traveling With Mental Illness

travelling with mental illness a little gold plane on a map

Personally, I have travel anxiety whether I’m traveling solo or with others. I know myself and what I need to do to get to my flight and travel activities without incident. However, when I travel with others, or if things happen by chance when I’m solo, my anxiety goes through the roof. Not only does it get bad, but I get negative thoughts about my experience, and I start to show physical symptoms like trembling, shivering, crying, or having a stomachache.

So, when you’re traveling, anything can trigger a negative train of thought, behavior, interaction with someone, and or a coping mechanism. That delayed flight, missed connection, wrong food order, scenery, anything can trigger someone. This can create some uncomfortable, negative, and even dangerous situations while traveling.

Not only will mental illness create difficult situations, but it can also make the overall experience not so good. Because a person’s decision-making skills, coping mechanisms, rational thinking, and social interactions are affected, they may struggle with expressing their thoughts and need for help.

How To Manage Your Mental Health While Traveling

small world with large sight seeing attractions to please mental health

Now, I’m not a doctor, psychologist, psychiatrist, or therapist. I am not licensed or qualified to give any treatment plans, medical or medication advice, or therapy for your mental illness. Please get professional help and consult your doctor, therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist for your mental illness.

However, with experience managing children with mental and behavioral health disorders, I have a few tips to share to help you work on your mental health. These are tips and suggestions on what you can do to improve your mental health, again, please consult your doctor for further help.

Mental health is a person’s cognitive, emotional, and social well-being. It’s a person’s ability to think clearly, cope, interact with others, express themselves, and overall function in a positive manner. Mental health is something that you can work on to improve certain components of your mental illness.

Some ways of working on your mental health and illness are:

  • Seek professional help from your doctor or therapist
  • Take any medication prescribed to you on a consistent basis
  • Attend therapy
  • Have a healthy, clean, and balanced diet
  • Identify and use positive coping skills (i.e. deep breaths, breaks, writing, listening to music, reading, drawing, etc.)
  • Know your triggers and try your best to avoid them (this may not be possible in all situations)
  • Be flexible and able to adapt to changes in situations
  • Get a good amount of sleep
  • Practice self-care
  • Exercise
  • Accept and validate how you feel in the moment
  • Have a positive mindset/thinking
  • Know how you can manage your behavior, emotions, thoughts moving forward.

With the right set of techniques and professional help, people can manage their mental health in a positive and safe manner. Having a mental health problem shouldn’t prevent you from traveling. No matter what, I hope you still enjoy your travels!

Hey, I’m JoJo Hall! I’m a full-time social worker in the foster care system. I’m also a part-time travel blogger and vlogger here to share my tips, tricks, and shared experience. I started my blog and YouTube channel to help and inspire everyone to travel. Whether you’re new to travel or an experienced adventurer, I’ve got you covered!

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