Hello there friends!
Today I wanted to talk about a topic that affects so many:
I’ve had my share of encounters with anxiety and I know that especially with anxiety disorders like panic disorders or agoraphobia it often feels like you are missing out on a lot of fun; especially travelling.
I get nervous in planes but what gives me real anxiety is trains, buses and trams.
So over many years I have tried many strategies to cope with anxiety and still get around.
Regardless of my anxiety and sometimes because of it (exposure therapy) I have still tried to travel as much as possible.
It is hard at times but I honestly had the best times of my life after plane rides.
I only ever had to cancel one trip (to London – we were going to see Harry Potter World too so you can imagine my frustration) because of anxiety and I wanted to share some of my tips:
Disclaimer: These are my personal tips of what helped me, solely based on personal experiences, and might differ from what an actual qualified therapist might say!
have your emergency medication close to you! (if you have any)
that means: in your hand-lagguage if your flying or in your purse/backpack close to you when travelling by train, tram or bus.
if you take medication make sure you have your prescription with you and have enough for your whole trip
make sure to keep your doctor’s prescription with you if you travel abroad by plane.
make sure you wear comfortable clothing
this might seem banal, but it makes all the difference. If you feel trapped by your clothing that makes it so much worse in a high-anxiety situation.
don’t eat greasy or heavy food – opt for light meals and snacks
like the point above this is because physical discomfort like bloating or stomach pain won’t aide your anxiety. If you feel physically well it is easier to focus on your mental health and physica discomfort might even exaggerate your anxiety even more
write down an emergency note in the language of the country you’re travelling to
– this can be on your phone or on a piece of paper and it can look something like this:
“Hi, my name is _______.
I have an anxiety/ panic disorder/ agoraphobia/travel anxiety and I am having a panic attack/ experiencing severe anxiety.
Please do this to help:
(you can chose whatever helps you in a panic situation)
talk to me calmly to distract me/ please don’t speak to me because I am feeling overwhelmed but stay with me/ call help/ remind me to breathe/ take my medication.
If I need help please call this number/ contact in my phone: ______.”
Remember and write down your breathing exercises and tactics for panic attacks
– because you most likely won’t remember them when your brain is busy freaking out.
Have your emegency kit ready
it might be a bag to breathe in, gum, peppermint oil [beware of liquid regulations when flying], your medication, your calming spotify playlist, a meditation app, the blanket that gives you comfort etc …
make yourself familiar with your surroundings
this can aide you to feel less overwhelmed. You might wanna check out a plan of the airport, map out how to get to your hotel from the airport…
I hope this list was helpful and feel free to add on to it in the comments!