If you are thinking of traveling again but anxious about what that might look like, you are not alone. Many researchers have begun studies into mental health welfare and the effects of pandemics on people. Whether you’re deciding to travel again for leisure or it’s a choice that you can’t make (maybe you need to relocate for work or personal reasons) dealing with the anxiety of traveling again can be overwhelming.
No two people are the same in how they deal with these feelings but these tips might help you travel with a little more ease.
Break Down What Your Fear Exactly Is
For some people, the anxiety around travel is related to the unknown. They have heard stories about what travel is like now. In most cases, they’ve heard the good and the bad but what can be believed? There is also uncertainty around what will be experienced when actually traveling.
Spending some time to really think about which things are leading to your anxiety can help you find solutions.
Even if you can’t find a way to overcome your fear right now, by simply stating what your fear is, you might be able to objectively look at the situation. This also can make things a little easier for your traveling companions who want to help you but aren’t sure what is causing your unsettled feelings.
Think of Ways to Mitigate That Fear
Once you have named what your concerns are then you can actively work to eliminate them. If you are not ready to be on an airplane yet, can you drive to your destination? If this isn’t an option, can you choose a flight that happens outside of a peak travel time? For example, flying on a Friday afternoon can lead to packed planes but flying on a Wednesday midday is likely to be far less crowded.
If your fear stems from being in large groups of people, what are some of your options to reduce the chances of being in these groups? You could choose to pack a picnic lunch to eat instead of sitting in a restaurant or choose outdoor dining if it’s available. Even though mask mandates may be lifted in places, you can continue to wear yours if it gives you a greater sense of peace.
Try Different Relaxation Techniques
Have you looked into relaxation techniques that can help you reduce anxiety when you find yourself in a highly anxious moment? There are many different ways to mitigate anxiety. In some cases, you may only need a moment to recenter yourself.
Some relaxation techniques to try include;
- Focused breathing – Essentially this is slow, relaxed breaths in a timed manner that can reduce your heart rate and bring your body back to a normal state.
- Mental Body Scans – This is a targeted meditation technique where you focus on every part of your body and “check” in.
- Temporarily removing yourself from the situation
- Repetitive prayer or meditation
- Guided meditations (apps like Calm are great for this)
Ultimately each person has to find which tools work best for them but knowing how to use these options can really help in a moment of high anxiety.
Get the Help of a Medical Professional
While it might not be the right thing for everyone, if your anxiety is leading to more stress than you’re able to handle alone it might be time to call a professional. This could be especially useful if the travel you need to do isn’t optional. Getting help from someone like a therapist, psychiatrist or psychologist can give you tools and techniques to work through your anxiety as well as medications if your anxiety is severe.
Traveling after a pandemic is going to be a big change no matter what, but with the help of some of these tools, you can help manage the anxious feelings you have. Whatever you choose to do, make sure you don’t minimize your travel anxiety in any way. It is completely normal and there is help available. Take any necessary steps needed so you can enjoy your travels and adventures along the way.
Do you have any tips for easing travel anxiety after a pandemic? Share them in the comments below!