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Use These Simple Tips to Combat Travel Stress
Traveling to new places is fun and exciting, but we don’t always do it for leisure purposes. Our jobs require us to travel on occasion, or every single day if you have a job such as a truck driver, recruiter, or pilot. In hindsight it sounds like an amazing gig, and you likely find it rewarding and well worth those miles, but it can take a toll on you mentally. Travel stress is real, so it is important that you take care of yourself to avoid burnout.
Understand the Wear and Tear
How can traveling possibly take a toll on your mental well-being? Well for starters, there’s the anxiety you feel before the trip even begins. You can prepare for a trip until you are blue in the face, but you can’t control the unexpected such as a flat tire, traffic, lost luggage, etc. Pair this with trying to ensure that everything at home, and life in general, is taken care of before you leave, and you might feel a little frazzled. Frequent travel often brings feelings of loneliness too, as you are removed from your family and friends due to work obligations. Combine all these emotions and feelings together, and you might be feeling a little down in the dumps. All this talk might have you feeling dreary, but there are ways to fight back.
Whether you’ll be driving or flying, there are several ways you can travel smart and reduce some of those pre-travel jitters. Take a moment to create an ultimate packing checklist that you can laminate and use for every trip you take so you don’t have to have the, “did I pack that?” moment. Then, create a separate list that pertains to each individual trip with maps, itineraries, rest stops, hotel accommodations, and emergency numbers. If you will be spending a majority of your time driving, make sure you take frequent stops to rest, stretch, use the bathroom, and refuel. Avoid foods that leave you feeling moody and sluggish such as sugary snacks, hydrogenated products, and anything fried.
Take Time for Yourself
Your schedule might be packed to the gills, but do what you can to schedule some ‘me time.’ It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant as long as it is something that you yourself are choosing to do. Stop at that national landmark, enjoy a cup of coffee, spend a few minutes meditating, or take a power nap. When you feel yourself getting anxious and fatigued, take a step back so that you can return feeling like your best self. If you have the luxury of doing so, schedule an extra day so you feel less rushed. Certain careers are centered around making good time and getting there faster, but you need to remember that if you push yourself too much, you’ll arrive feeling less like yourself than when you started, and that’s not okay. If you are crunched for time, find ways to relax while you are working such as listening to an audiobook or turning on your favorite de-stressing tunes.
Stay In Touch
Being away from home is hard, so it is crucial that you stay in touch with friends and family. Phone calls are great, and most convenient, but try to fit in some time for a video chat or even send a silly photo or video to document your travels and give your loved ones a glimpse of your current world. Not only will you be able to keep them updated, but you can feel a little closer to home knowing what is going on there. If you don’t have close home relationships, find a support system such as an online support group. Knowing someone truly cares about your whereabouts and having that connection can fight those feelings of loneliness.
Travel is part of your job, but poor mental health doesn’t have to be. Understand the effects constant travel can have on your wellbeing, and take steps to limit it. Planning ahead, taking a personal breather, and building a support system to turn to on the good days and the bad are all great ways to lower your stress levels and turn good mental health into a priority and a habit.
Marie Villeza is passionate about connecting seniors with the resources they need to live happy, healthy lives. She developed ElderImpact.org to provide seniors and their caregivers with resources and advice. Her mission is to empower seniors against ageism by providing information they need to keep control of their own lives.
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