By Sarah Wylde
In the process of packing my suitcase for the third time today, while planning the timing to leave, what I want to see, and who to visit when I am at my destination. Then I was hit with an anxiety attack and spent the rest of the day trying to convince myself not to cancel. I was so worried about not seeing everyone and them being upset, missing out on a panel at the convention, and overthinking so much that I forgot to take care of myself and remember that this trip is for fun.
I grew up in a military family moving every three years to a new city, province, or even country, and it never bothered me, I loved moving and travelling. The past few years things have changed, I get nervous and anxious if my mom is not coming with me, and I have to fly somewhere. I am taking a five-hour bus trip, and it is hard, I already know that I will not be sleeping much the night before.
Anxiety is a natural experience, it is our body’s way of telling us it is responding to stress, fear, or a situation that could happen to us. Whether that situation is real or imaginary. We all experience anxiety, but when it starts to interfere with school, work, or our daily life, including when we travel, it becomes a problem. Knowing that I am not the only one with anxiety/travel anxiety, I thought this week; I would share what I do and bring to help with my travel anxiety.
What I do:
- I use affirmations to remind myself it is alright, “I am safe,” and “I can do this.”
- Breathing techniques and taking long slow breaths in and out.
- If I start to panic at the airport or on the bus, I will close my eyes and meditate.
- I remind myself why I am going.
- So I feel like I still have some control, I plan things that I can like where I want to eat, shop etc.
- I make sure things are organized in my apartment when I get home. That way, I know I am coming to a clean apartment and can relax knowing there is not a to do list waiting for me.
For the travel kit, I like to make sure it uses all my senses: sight, smell, taste, sound, and touch.
My anxiety travel kit:
If it doesn’t fit in my carry on neatly, or it is too small, I use a small makeup bag or pencil case to carry everything.
- My Mindfulness Logbook, I go back and read what I wrote as reminders that I can get through the anxiety and waves of emotions that come with it.
- Copy of Jenny Lawsons ‘Let’s Pretend This Never Happened’ book. It is a very real and hilarious book that talks about mental health.
- Face mask
- Calming tea (peppermint, chamomile)
- Essential oils. I will make an anxiety blend (lavender, orange, bergamot), or bring lavender, chamomile, clary sage and cedarwood.
- Chocolate or another snack that I like
- Guided meditation playlist
- Homemade cloth stress ball
I hope the above anxiety travel kit helps, what do you put in your anxiety travel kit? Let us know below or on social media.