Anxiety: Simple, easy tips to consider when traveling
Planning and taking a trip can cause stress in many people, and even more problems if you already have an anxiety or panic disorder or else live with a psychological condition. Use the following tips to make your trip more enjoyable without stress or anxiety:
Plan well in advance
Make a “to do” list in advance. Organize your documents (like passport and travel ticket), and keep them in a place where you can find them easily. If you take anti-anxiety or other medications, book a visit to your doctor and ask for a prescription so you can be sure to have enough (and maybe some extra) medication with you during the trip.
Take a bus or a taxi to the airport, and aim to be there earlier. This way you will avoid the anxiety and fear of not having enough time to check in and go through customs.
Know where you’re going
Do some research on where you are going to avoid unexpected situations. Learn about the amenities offered by the hotel, where is it located, and the need for transportation. Note if there are any hospitals or medical clinics nearby in case of an emergency.
How to deal with symptoms
Consider what you would do if you were to experience stress or symptoms of anxiety while on vacation. Anxiety often occurs without any warning signs. One second you may feel good, and the next second you may feel panic. Make a plan on how to cope with symptoms: taking deep breaths, visualization or meditation can all help relieve stressful symptoms. Try to avoid being alone, and choose instead to attend social events and maybe take a friend with you, too.
Bring with you any item that makes you feel calm and relaxed. This could include calming music, a journal where you write your thoughts, magazines or puzzle games.
Prepare yourself for the trip
Get enough sleep before your trip. Eat well and avoid foods that can cause an upset stomach, bloating or diarrhea. Food that contains sugar and caffeine should be avoided as they can make you more anxious.
Keep to your workout and exercise routine until you go on vacation. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes, a small blanket or a pillow—something that you wear frequently, to give you a sense of familiarity and comfort.
Practice “four square breathing,” so for the count of four, each: inhale deeply, hold, and exhale deeply (all the way, through pursed lips) and then take a cleansing breath. In just a few seconds you will notice that symptoms of anxiety become less and less intense and you will feel more calm and relaxed.
A second technique is called “thought-stopping,” which is helpful for when you feel anxious as you tend to worry and focus on negative feelings and situations that may occur. If you experience this problem tell yourself to stop right away; focus instead on positive emotions and thoughts.