Traveling can be filled with enjoyable adventures and new memories you can cherish for a lifetime.
It can also be terrifying and overwhelming if you are traveling with anxiety, depression, or another mental illness. In this state, you may be especially worried about your impending vacation, but you should not have to be.
The Best Travel Tips for Mental Health
Vacations are supposed to be about having a good time escaping your day-to-day, but with so many things going on, you may fear that your symptoms could get out of hand and ruin your great plans. At Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches, we are sharing some of the best mental health travel tips so you can stop worrying and enjoy your trip.
One of the most important travel tips for mental health is to plan ahead. Before you go on your vacation, you want to make sure all your paperwork is complete, and you’ve booked everything you need. If you are going abroad, make sure you know a little bit about your destination and some basic phrases if there is a language barrier. The farther in advance you begin this process, the less stressed you will feel as the trip approaches. Planning and booking ahead can also reduce stress while on your actual vacation and help keep your mental health symptoms at bay.
Take Time to Relax
Although it is meant to be a break, being on vacation can be stressful. You often have a busy schedule as you try to pack everything you want to do into a few short days. Instead of being enjoyable, this can become stressful and agitate anxiety or other mental health problems. While on vacation, make regular time to relax. This could mean meditating in the morning before you begin your day or taking a half hour before dinner to sit and unwind. Not only could this keep your mental health symptoms from acting up, but it will also likely help you enjoy your vacation more.
Stay in Routine
While it is impossible to keep your entire routine while on vacation, sticking to some of your normal schedule can help you feel more at ease and reduce the number of overwhelming adjustments that can trigger unwanted symptoms. If you meditate or practice mindfulness daily, try to continue to do so on vacation. If you exercise regularly, try to get active. Do your best to adjust to any time changes and keep a normal sleep schedule.
Avoid Drugs & Alcohol
When feeling overwhelmed, many people are quick to turn to drugs or alcohol to help them relax or feel better. In some cases, this may lead to a substance abuse problem, and the person may end up needing dual diagnosis treatment. While these substances may provide some temporary relief with travel anxiety, they could make you feel worse in the long run and exacerbate symptoms. Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to drink on vacation to enjoy yourself. Instead, sticking to water will keep your mind clear and help you stay hydrated.
Pack Extra Medication
One of the most important mental health travel tips is to pack extra medication. You want to make sure you not only have enough for the duration of your planned trip but also for a few extra days. This way you would still have medication on hand if you were unable to get home on time. Packing extra medication while traveling abroad with a mental illness is especially important because your medication may not be as readily available depending on where you are going.
Consult a Professional
In preparation for a big trip, it may be worth seeing a professional well in advance. Entering an anxiety treatment program to learn to cope with your phobia of flying could save you from a panic attack. Similarly, going through residential mental health treatment could help you learn how to manage your symptoms on your own as well as ensure that you are on the right medications long before your trip.
While travel can be overwhelming, these mental health travel tips are meant to make the process a little bit easier.
If you or someone you love needs more help when it comes to your mental health, we are here. Call 561-220-3981 to learn more about us at Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches and how we could help.