Managing Travel Anxiety
Travel anxiety is common. Summer holidays are highly anticipated but the planning and organisation that come with it can be a source of stress. Here are some of the main anxiety issues people often have surrounding holidays with some tips that can help…
It’s all in the preparation
If you’re the type to fret in case you forgot something – checklists are your friend. Creating a list takes the worry out of your head and puts it down in black and white, helping to alleviate stress and track progress, ensuring that you pack everything you need. If there are things you know you’ll always need to take with you when you go away, consider creating your own laminated list that you keep in your suitcase as a reference for future trips. This will save stress when you arrive at your destination without a toothbrush!
If you get away and find you have forgotten something, it isn’t the end of the world. In most cases you will be able to buy the thing you forgot or a decent alternative. Even if you do forget, or worse lose something, try and gain some perspective on this missing item. If there isn’t anything you can do about it, don’t dwell on it and instead make the best of your time away.
Nobody enjoys being late, whatever the scenario, but the thought of missing a travel connection is particularly anxiety inducing. Take steps to avoid this; plan ahead and take adequate precautions to allow plenty of time should you hit traffic or have to run back home for that thing you forgot. Make transport arrangements with this in mind so you don’t get uptight about it and can relax into holiday-mode sooner.
Fear of Flying
Fear of flying (aerophobia) is very common, affecting as many as 1 in 10 of us. This is very high considering flying is the safest form of transport and aircraft problems are extremely unlikely; we actually take far greater risks in our day–to-day lives. However, often knowing the stats doesn’t seem to help.
If the thought of flying makes you break a sweat, do your best to think of it from this more logical perspective possible. Don’t get hung-up on this element – ruminating on this thought isn’t helpful. Remember it is a hypothetical worry. Practice mindfulness and distract yourself with a good book or podcast.
If this is a big concern for you, try stay-cations, cruises or alternative means of travel but this may limit your possible destinations. If this is curtailing your adventures, there are ways of tackling this fear with therapy.
Structure and day-to-day routine can help keep us keep mentally well. For those that thrive on routine going away from this, even for a few days, can rock the boat (travel-pun intended!) and create longing for the comforts of home. Don’t allow your routine to rule you. Rather than fear or fight this change of routine, try and appreciate the new experience and destination for what it is while not abandoning the routine altogether; a good sleep pattern, eating well, taking exercise etc, are all still important to maintaining wellbeing.
It’s ok to give yourself a little slack to enjoy a break from the usual on holiday but don’t fall off the wagon. A period of overindulging can cause feelings of regret following the holiday which can lead to low mood. As with most things, balance is key.
If you know there are things you simply can’t do without, pack these if possible, or choose a holiday destination where you know you can still have the things you value and that anchor you.
Whatever concerns you envisage might scupper your summer holiday, the likelihood is you will be able to cope. Most of our anxieties around travel are rather farfetched. If we go into the experience with a positive and accepting attitude, chances are it will be a good one.
If your anxieties surrounding travel are starting to make you question whether it is even worth going, it is time for a rethink. If you think you could use some further help, book your free consultation with us.