Ways to cope with anxiety when travelling
Do you suffer with anxiety when travelling? Or do you feel unwell when travelling (not motion sickness) but didnt even realise this could be signs of being anxious when travelling?
Then I hope to clear things up for you and I share with you some anxiety coping mechanisms I have tried over the years.
You might even be getting anxious for no reason and these tips can help.
Travelling with anxiety
I used to have a fear of leaving the house I got worse when my dad passed away that I couldn’t leave the house for 3 months. I had counselling, I used medication and I had acupuncture which all helped in their own way.
I have always loved travelling but I suffer with motion sickness and I also have a fear of being sick so I started to associate travel with being sick and therefore my fear of travel developed.
I have tried to retrain my brain to say it is not travel making me sick. I take precautions to reduce the motion sickness.
It took years to reduce my anxiety when travelling to the point I could travel without having a major panic attack.
I think one of the biggest things that helped me was going through chemotherapy obviously I am not saying you have to have this but afterwards I started thinking if I can get through that shit I can sit on a plane for a couple of hours or if I can cope with cancer I can cope with being in a car.
Gradually I think it worked so what I am trying to say is a good anxiety coping mechanism is to think of the thing that is making you anxious in a positive way. I think that involved a bit of CBT techniques it is about retraining your brain.
I couldn’t grasp it for years when I was going to a counselling and it took me going through something so scary that I think I can get through what life throws at me.
What are the signs of anxiety
Peoples signs of anxiety vary and they can even vary per episode of anxiety. My major signs of anxiety is racing heart rate, breathlessness, feeling sick and dizzy, sweating, shaking, lack of concentration.
You may feel as though you need to go to the toilet and a common symptom of anxiety is stomach cramps feeling as though you really need to go to the toilet. The NHS has a great resource to find out more about anxiety.
Medications to help with anxiety
There are over the counter anxiety medications as well as prescribed anxiety medications. Visit your GP and discuss your symptoms to see if they can help. I have had betablockers in the past and now I have lorazepam when I am feeling really anxious.
I use a calm spray which helps when I can feel myself getting a little anxious. My favorite is rescue remedy.
How I did my first long haul flight when I suffer with travel anxiety
I had a fear of flying incase I had a panic attack. Factors that made this a little easier; I went first class. The thought of not being crammed on flight relieved my anxiety greatly. Also the free champagne helped! I got some medication from my GP, just having it with me reduced my anxiety.
I didn’t even take it. Now when I get a bit anxious I can think back and say to myself “I went to NYC on my own I can go anywhere”
I have now travelled all over UK, Europe, China, Thailand and USA and have so much more planned, I still get bad days, days when I think I can’t do that trip. But I am determine to see as much of the world as I can. Here are some of my top tips of travelling with anxiety.
My coping mechanisms for travelling with anxiety are
Be in control
I choose where and when I am going somewhere, what I am going to be doing and most of the time who with
I like to know everything such as durations of travel, order of places, times I need to be places etc
Being in a rush can cause my anxieties to rise
I book early morning flights
I book early morning flights so I don’t dwell on it all day
I travel at off peak times to avoid crowds
Avoiding the commuters who push and shove as they are trying to get to work can make all the difference
Pay for extra leg room
Having extra leg room means I am not so confined and this reduces my anxiety a little. If possible I book premium class if prices not too huge.
Especially on trains the difference can be so stress-free. Priority passes stop me getting so anxious as it means I have a quieter place to escape to whilst I am waiting for my flight.
Look for a way out
Knowing your exits means you can get out of situations quickly if you start to feel panicky
Make sure I have water
Having water to keep my mouth refreshed and well hydrated reduces my anxiety. A sign of anxiety for me is a very dry mouth so water helps.
Have snacks and a light meal
I eat now it might sound strange but I wouldn’t eat before or during travel and when you’re travelling for long periods of tome this is not good. So again, I would start to feel sick which was hunger buy it would make me panic.
Now I make sure I have a light meal and smacks with me. Skittles are good if I feel my blood sugars dropping, I pop a few skittles in my mouth.
I always remember a first aid trainer telling me he carries jelly babies with him as about 3 pm every day he was having blood sugar drops feeling fatigued and sick so he would have a few jelly babies so I do the same with skittles.
What is your favourite sweet? Start carrying a few around with you for a sugar hit and see if they help.
Most of all enjoy your travels the world is big and there is so much to see.
How to deal with anxiety attacks
Even though I have come along way I still do suffer panic attacks thankfully they are now not every time I leave the house but when I do have a panic attacks it scary.
Here are some ways I deal with anxiety attacks :
Remove myself from the situation if possible I go outside or pull car over and step out.
Deep breathing and meditation
PIN IT FOR LATER!!