Wednesday, 1 June 2016

FEARS OF TRAVELING & NOT LETTING YOUR ILLNESS WIN


Summer is approaching and with that comes holiday season. I haven't travelled abroad in nearly 6 years and since then it's safe to say a lot has changed in my life and anxiety has become somewhat a familiar component in my day to day life. 

I'm not sure what it is exactly that makes me so anxious before flights. I am not afraid of heights, not really claustrophobic but there is something about the whole shenanigans of an airport that makes my tummy feel like it's doing acrobatics. I guess it's part excitement for the holiday ahead and part anxiety to what it will entail. We all must at some point get nervous or stressed before jetting off into the unknown right? But where the problem really stems from is from being unwell whilst being away and letting the anxiety control MY holiday. 


I am so used to being near my safe place aka home, that it really does fill me with dread to think about being the foreigner in another country; and not being able to run to a safe place (my home) if my surroundings become overwhelming. Throughout my life I have let anxieties hold me back and this year I am going to be taking the holiday NOT anxiety. Holidays are meant to be chilled right? So why should mine be any different? I guess I just wanted to share a post on some of the methods I have in place for when I travel and hope they may be of some use to you too!

Forward planning 
Planning ahead makes everything a whole lot more relaxing. I will hold my hands up and admit that sometimes I am little miss leave it till last minute, but that's something I am trying desperately to work on! I have grown up with a super organised mum when it comes to going on holiday, which includes organising the documents (tickets/boarding passes) and money into  folder, as well as ensuring all your clothes are ironed and you have plenty of underwear!

Allow time
Being in a rush gets me all in a mess and does nothing but cause me major anxiety. I am ensuring that I arrive at the airport with plenty of time to spare. Again I was born into the family of "let's get to the airport three hours early", meaning I have always been there with time to find a drink and explore the duty free.

Taking it slow
Take it hour by hour, even minute by minute if that works for you! Learning to pace yourself whilst both travelling and abroad will prohibit you for becoming overwhelmed, rushed and stressed. Of course spontaneity is always welcomed, but if you're like me and like to know what your plans are for the day, then make lists and schedules so you have at least a rough idea as to where you're doing and what you will be doing that day/week. 

Packing essentials 
Okay so the passport, camera, deodorant, suncream are a given. But the essentials I am talking about are more for your mental health. I am going to take my iPod and earphones to override the noises of crowds with music that will comfort me more and perhaps bring me back down to reality. If you have anything that comforts you or you use as a good distraction audio books, or even if you had a while to spare painting your nails always seems to relax me!

Slow and steady
We have five days to spread out what we want to do, so I am planning on pacing myself effectively. I am starting to learn that with any illness you need to divide the day into segments and not think to far ahead. Doing to much at once can often cause discomfort and ruin the remainder of the day, so it makes more sense to take little breaks. These breaks could be to sit down for something to eat/drink, or perhaps taking a moment to just stop and embrace your surroundings. Ever heard of being mindful?

Download some apps 
If you're like me and glued to your phone then it might be a good idea to ensure you have plenty of apps to keep you occupied whilst you're on the plane and for around the airport. There are so many mindfulness apps that you can download (and plenty for free as I am not about spending £2 for an app.. NO THANK YOU) One of my favourites is Calm, it gives you tips and step by step guides to reducing anxiety and stress. Also I love games such as Stack and Word Brain, they are really good at keeping you occupied and drawing the attention away from whatever might be causing your anxiety at that particular time. 

If in doubt ask 
My fears don't stem from the flying itself, more so around the hustle and bustle of an airport. But if you do suffer with the actual flying part then asking an air hostess any questions or even letting them know you are a nervous passenger could put your mind at ease. I am 100% they are used to at least one or two nervous passengers every single shift that they work; and I am also sure they would be more than happy to reassure you and answer any questions you may have!

Know what works for you
What works for one person might not work for another. It's important not to feel useless and increase your anxiety more by feeling like non of these tips work for you, it's all about finding  your own coping mechanisms and sticking to it (obviously trying new things never hurt either!) I know for me that by breaking my time up in the airport by going to have some breakfast, a coffee, a look around duty free then playing some apps on my phone I am more likely to be relaxed than just sitting around feel agitated. But there's so many more areas so explore such as music, reading a magazine or browsing the internet because lets face it how many hours can we all kill on the internet!?

Remember this holiday is for you NOT ANXIETY. It's inevitable that it will make an appearance but it's about finding those coping mechanisms and putting them into place. You have control, not your illness. It does not define you, nor should it steal away those precious moments where you deserve to be happy and carefree just like everybody else. I hope you find some useful tips here, do you have any tips of your own? I would love to hear! Please share them below!






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8 comments

  1. I think it helps to always have a "base" to go back to as well. You might be travelling, but having a hotel room which feels like a safe space where you can nip back to if things get overwhelming makes such a difference. As does having nights off, too: if you're out socialising with the family or friends that you are travelling with all day AND all night, it's good to schedule in a couple of nights just sitting in on your own reading - particularly if it's a longer holiday.

    Happy travels!

    Lis / last year's girl x

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    1. That is very good advice! I found this on my recent holiday, I took some nights off and decided to have an early night whereby I went back to the hotel room, had a shower and went to bed in order to feel more refreshed the next day! Thank you for adding this <3

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  2. Lovely post. I don't personally suffer from anxiety, but I AM a very nervous flyer! I love holidays and going abroad. In fact we're jetting off in 2 weeks and already planning our second for later in the year. But when it comes to stepping on that plane my mind goes into overtime thinking about all the worst case scenarios and thinking about all sorts. I sometimes find it difficult to sleep on board, but if I do manage to at least most of the way, then the flight becomes a breeze.
    Great tips and I may try and download an audio book for the flight to help me relax.

    Love Hannah xx

    www.HannahHawes.com

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    1. I think getting on a plane can be a very daunting experience but as long as you have some distractions in place the time should pass! Audio book sounds like a fabulous idea. I hope you find something to relax you and I hope you also have a fabulous holiday <3 x

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  3. I'm a really bad traveller and I find that especially when on a plane if I sit by the window that really helps? Being able to see what's going makes me so much more calm and there are always other nervous people around so I don't feel alone X

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    1. I like to sit by the window too, I think it's so therapeutic when you can see the world below you or lots of fluffy clouds!xx

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  4. Forward planning is the BEST thing I started doing, it gives me an end goal & I know there won't be any last minute stresses as I have planned ahead. Great post. X
    www.sopherina.co.uk

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