Traveling on it’s own can be –while exciting- a daunting experience. When you pair this with crippling anxiety, it can really deflate any excitement and fun you might be feeling for your upcoming trip.
Anxiety feels different for people, depending on who you ask. I have recently been able to pinpoint exactly how I feel when I’m dealing with it. Remember the scene in the movie Titanic near the end, Jack is handcuffed to a pipe in a room that is quickly filling with water? This is how I can accurately describe my experience with anxiety.
I can’t actually explain why I get anxiety though. I love traveling, I love flying, I love (most) airports. I am comfortable in airports and on airplanes. All I know, is on the way to the airport, I panic. I live 10 minutes from the airport, so my Mom always drives me, but I never let her come in with me. I prefer to get going quickly as possible because the sooner the bags are checked and I’m through security, the sooner I can try to relax. Maybe my anxiety is the thought of leaving my comfort zone.
When I am traveling, waiting around the gate and looking at the stores is fun. I enjoy stopping somewhere to get a meal and a coffee while I people watch. Below the surface my anxiety is bubbling. It hinders my excitement, and it’s not fair. It’s as if my excitement is being taken away from me. Once I’m on the plane, my anxiety begins to subside. I enjoy the flight, and don’t suffer much more for the rest of the trip.
I’ve always had anxiety, I just didn’t know what it was. I thought I was just shy and that was that. It turns out however, I am anxious and an introvert, which is ironic because I am highly social and love to explore the world beyond my comfort zone.
My anxiety seems to get worse, with the older I get. This causes me to worry about my future. I want to make traveling my career, and it makes me worry that it will hold me back from being able to live out my dreams.
If you too are dealing with anxiety, especially while traveling, here are five tips that I find to be helpful when it comes to staying calm.
- Drink Water. I find that when I slowly sip on water, it helps my nerves to calm down and it helps everything in my mind and body feel less overwhelmed. Also, keeping hydrated is always a good thing!
- Eat. I find that it’s helpful to keep a full stomach when you’re feeling anxiety. One situation I had was on the bus home from college one day. I was hit was so much anxiety out of no where, I was sure I was going to end up having to run off the bus for air. I ended up eating a granola bar, and it helped tremendously. So make sure your body is getting what it needs.
- Breathe. You hear this a lot when it comes to anxiety, but it’s true. Taking deep, calculated breaths can help keep your anxiety under control.
- Read. For me, reading can be a hit or miss solution. I find it works best if it’s a book you’re already very interested in. This way it’s easier to find yourself swept up in the story. It’s harder to keep distracted if you’re trying to get into a new storyline. You might find that after you’ve read the first chapter, you don’t actually remember any of what you just read.
- Games. I find that playing games on my phone can be really helpful. When you have to use your brain to strategically win a game, it keeps a lot of your mind focused on that end goal, which can help distract you from your anxiety. Just be sure to have a back up battery charger because games can be a real battery killer.
Anxiety is awful no matter what situation you find yourself in. I hope that by reading this, you realize you aren’t alone and that anxiety is a real thing that can happen to anyone. Hopefully you find the aforementioned tips helpful in the way you handle your anxiety. If you have any other tips, I would love to read them in the comments below!
A good way to reduce travel induced anxiety is to make sure you are prepared. Secure your own trip with your online flight booking with HolidayMe.