In Australia, more than 45 per cent of people will experience a mental health issue at some point in their lives. While around 2 million Aussies experience anxiety in one year alone. With such a prevalence of the disorder in society, it’s no wonder there are travellers who are looking at ways to manage their anxiety during their holidays at home and abroad. Instead of letting anxiety ruin your travel plans, learn how to manage the feelings by following these steps.
1. Start planning
One of the triggers of anxiety can be feeling out of control, and travelling abroad is one of the easiest and quickest ways to feel like things are out of your control. Life abroad can be unfamiliar and unpredictable, and things don’t always go according to plan, but instead of focusing on the lack of control you have, focus that energy on things you do have control of like your tickets, hotel bookings and travel itineraries.
2. Develop a routine
If you suffer from anxiety then it’s important to develop a sense of routine even when you’re on holiday. Try waking up at the same time each morning and developing a routine for when you first get up. If you try an emulate what you usually do back home, this can increase your feelings of safety and security, rather than worrying about the uncertainties of the day.
3. Be wary of your instincts
One piece of advice travellers often receive when going overseas is to listen to their instincts. But if you’re a sufferer of anxiety then this is something you need to be wary of. While people receive gut feels about things that could potentially go wrong, someone with anxiety can feel this much of the time, even when it’s unwarranted. Instead of following your gut instincts, think about the likelihood of something going wrong. If the risk is low then busy yourself with your organised travel plans instead.
4. Steer clear of anything that will make your anxiety worse
For some it will be the caffeine in coffee or the buzz of alcohol that will amplify feelings of anxiety. If you know what your triggers are, then stay away from them as much as possible, as they will only make matters worse.
5. Reach out to someone
If you need help, or you’re feeling overwhelmed by your feelings of anxiety, then reach out to someone you can trust and who makes you feel secure. It might be your travel buddy, your partner or someone back home that makes you feel safe. Give them a call if that’s what it takes to calm your nerves while you’re away.
6. Use a distraction
Sometimes all it takes is a bit of a distraction to get your mind off your worries. You might want to go out to a nice meal, or go for a light walk and listen to music. Whatever it is, learn how to recognise when your anxiety is coming up and the ways you can distract yourself from it.
7. Talk to an expert
When the feelings are truly overwhelming and ruining all efforts to enjoy a holiday, then take some time out and talk to a professional. That could be as easy as picking up the phone and calling the Beyond Blue support line on 1300 224 639 or their online chat. Whatever the case may be for you, it’s important that you don’t suffer alone in silence. Don’t be afraid to reach out and find help.