With so much travel in both the personal and professional aspects of my life, it may seem surprising that I haven’t written a blog on this topic yet (I mean, my blog is named after my love for adventures!). While I’ve posted a little bit on Instagram about this, I’ve recently felt the need to expand further on the impact that travel has on my mental health – both the good and the bad.
I’ve touched on the tools I, personally, need to handle my anxiety on a regular basis and while on the road (therapy, supplements, food) … But sometimes, those things are simply not enough. And for me, right now? They are not enough.
So far this year, my life has been filled with exciting personal events (weddings, babies, and more!) that have allowed me to explore new places, and I’ve been traveling more often for work. Lately, this has taken its toll on me mentally … I’ve been feeling downright sad with how much I’ve been away from my husband, my pup, my family, my routine, and my home.
Now, this is in no way a complaint. I am so, so fortunate to have the means to travel and to see new places – and for that, I am forever grateful! Discovering new places has pushed me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to see life from new perspectives … But if I’m being real, recently, this constant go-go-go lifestyle has put a strain on me physically and mentally, and on my relationships.
When I find myself in this less-than-ideal headspace, when I am far from my therapist and even farther from my comfort zone, I’ve been forced to dig deep to find peace of mind and mental clarity. On my most recent trip, I identified a few things that helped me to get through moments of anxiety and sadness, and I’m excited to share them with y’all.
Traveling for work? Do your best to carve out time for Y O U. This is something I’ve learned from a mentor of mine, and it has made all the difference in being able to enjoy the professional side of travel. If you have a travel-heavy job like myself, I encourage you to work toward setting boundaries around these trips. What do I mean by that, exactly? Amongst the long work hours, dedicate time for you. Wake up an hour early to go for a walk outside. Take 10 minutes to meditate before bed. Maybe you’re a foodie? Look into local restaurant(s) to try! Think about what makes you happy, and prioritize time in your schedule to fit in at least one of those things (if at all possible, of course!).
Let go of the need to control every situation. I’m a planner, a fixer, a Type-A worrywart, so ~ going with the flow ~ is not exactly something that comes naturally to me. But when it comes to flight delays, last-minute cancellations, and other travel obstacles, there is really no other option than to do just that. Learning to shift my mindset and accept this has proven to be imperative to pushing through some especially tough times.
And on that note … Focus on what you can control, especially how you react to these situations. Feel, process and re-center. Then, tap into what you know works for you: meditation, breathwork, a good cry, journaling, or calling your bestie!
Practicing gratitude will never get old. When I get too in my head and start thinking negatively, I do my best to balance those thoughts with things I am grateful for. I am beyond appreciative for a career that allows me to travel to new places, network, build relationships, and more. Sometimes, even a simple phone call or text to my husband, parents or sisters will bring me an instant feeling of gratitude.
Prepare, prepare, prepare! If you’re able to plan your trip(s) in advance, dig deep, identify what triggers your stress/anxiety, and make sure to do everything you can to feel great before leaving town: prioritize quality sleep, eat nutrient-dense foods that make you feel good, don’t skip a therapy session, etc. Oh, and right before you head out? Pack your bag with healthy snacks, download your favorite podcast(s), pack comfortable clothes, and do your best to relax (easier said than done, I know).
Travel is a common anxiety trigger. And most of the time, it’s a tough one to be fully prepared for, since most aspects of travel are out of our control … So, if you’re feeling bogged down with work trips or additional stress from being away from home for too long, I encourage you to try these tips! They can help you to overcome stressors while away, and prepare you to make your next adventure that much more enjoyable.
Safe, happy travels! 🙂
Please note that I am not a mental health professional. Always seek the advice of your mental health professional or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding your condition.