Everyone knows that traveling is supposed to broaden our horizons, bridge the gap between cultures, and introduce us to new people. But what about the times when it doesn’t? I travel a lot for work, and despite being in some very busy places where there are people all around, it can get pretty lonely.
Here’s something that I don’t talk a lot about: I get panic attacks. Usually, they’re brought on by being around too many people without a mental break. One weekend, we spent surrounded by friends, sharing a hotel room, getting ready with girlfriends, attending wedding events… it was incredibly fun, but it was also a lot.
To top it all off, instead of getting my usual relaxing end of weekend with Kyle, I dropped him off at the airport, spent the evening by myself, and early Monday hit the road for Savannah. My routine was so far off kilter, I couldn’t even see it anymore.
I tried reclaiming some normalcy by going for a walk, but had to rush back to my hotel to manage a work emergency.
I realized I forgot any headphones and couldn’t find a pair that will fit my phone anywhere nearby- so in a rare occurrence, I headed out for a city walk with full access to the city sounds. As a person who is highly sensitive to sensory overload, it was almost too much… I couldn’t take hearing everything around me. I called a Lyft.
I finally got to this restaurant I’d been dying to try & almost had a panic attack on the way there. I had a cocktail and taco & calmly asked for the entree that I ordered to-go. THE SECOND I ASKED FOR MY MEAL TO-GO I FELT A SENSE OF CALM WASH OVER ME. I was back in control, I had a deadline of when I would be going back to my hotel and could close out other sounds.
Y’all, I love traveling – even traveling for work- but sometimes it’s all just too much, too much abnormal bedtimes, too much indulgent foods, too many glasses of Prosecco, honestly: too many people.
I’m looking forward to taking the majority of this week to focus on me, my work, my apartment, my garden, my cat, MY LIFE. My fuse until I have a panic attack has been getting shorter & shorter these past few weeks with all of our obligatory events (that of course turn out to be incredibly fun!!), that I need to be better about stepping back and centering myself.
While it’s important to find what works for you, and what calms the storm in your body, it’s also important to remember that we can’t do everything ourselves, even while on the road, Ray of Hope Counseling Services can provide that sense of stability and calm. Whether you’re coping with travel-induced anxiety, tensions with your significant other, addiction triggers on the road, Ray of Hope’s online counseling can help you not only manage your anxieties, but learn to work through them. If you prefer an in-person experience, Ray of Hope has locations in Marietta, Atlanta, Lawrenceville, and more!
10 Strategies to Cope with Anxiety While Traveling
I’ve compiled my 10 strategies to cope with anxiety while traveling. They all boil down to the same basic principle: ROUTINE. It sounds so simple in theory, but even as a person who travels frequently, it can be incredibly difficult to implement.
- Bring a home comfort. (I bring my travel-specific stuffed animal, Pua from Moana)
- Bring a familiar scent. (I bring my ItWorks pillow spray)
- Bring ear plugs. (They dampen sounds without totally drowning it out)
- Go to the hotel gym.
- Take a walk outside (with headphones if needed)
- Find a local yoga class (using ClassPass) or do a yoga routine using an App or YouTube video your room.
- Take a bath or long shower.
- Go to bed early. (This will help you step back and you’ll be able to take some tome to reflect on your day while trying to fall asleep)
- Wake up early. (Use this time to meditate, do a yoga flow, go for a run, or take in the fresh air before the noise of the city starts up)
- Don’t be afraid to walk away from stressful situations.
- Bonus: Take advantage of online counseling provided by Ray of Hope Counseling Services.