Many people travel and head off on vacations to get away from everyday life and the stresses that come with it. Unfortunately, however, this doesn’t always work out, as, for some people, travel itself can induce huge amounts of anxiety. Sleepless nights before flights, lack of sleep on said flights, and the rush to finish projects before you head off can all catch up with your immune system and nervous system once you stop.
Although travel does come with a number of benefits, the stress it can cause can leave you with mental strain and negative feelings (need a holiday after your holiday, anyone?!). If you want to reduce your vacation stress and truly unwind, try these six simple steps that have helped me do just that.
1. PLAN THE BIG BITS
If you're a worrier like me, the moment you set a destination and date for your vacation, start planning! As a general rule, the earlier you book things like flights and accommodation, the cheaper they’ll be, which will reduce the financial strain and guilt you may be prone to feeling later on. Don’t forget to book airport transfers or car rentals in advance too, as this will provide peace of mind when you arrive. Then work on letting the details go through your own positive self talk and imagining the trip going smoothly and feeling relaxing.
2. Simplify Your To-Do List
When you go on vacation, you want to get the most out of your trip as you possibly can. For this reason, you’ve probably started to plan a number of fun activities for you to do while you’re out there. Although you certainly shouldn’t waste the time you have away, cramming so much into your schedule will only lead to exhaustion. Leave yourself spare time, time to fully immerse yourself in each experience, and time to catch your breathe after each excursion - especially in your first few days as you may still be jet-lagged from either your job or the travel to get to your destination.
3. Pack Home Comforts
Homesickness is a horrible feeling and is one that could potentially ruin your entire trip. To avoid it and other concerns, pack whatever you need to make yourself comfortable and create that home away from home feeling wherever you go. It might be your favourite blanket, a cuddly toy, special trinket, crystals (me!), or - as I've seen on my travels - even a portable bidet! If you're a worrier about baggage weight, allow your small comfort item to be your priority over anything else, and you'll be glad for it when you need it. It might sound obvious, but also bring a phone that can connect to WiFi or have an international sim inserted to contact your loved ones back home if that's what you need to feel .
4. Get A Good Night’s Sleep
Whether you’re scared of flying or excited for the trip, you might be a traveller who gets very little sleep the night before their flight out. Unfortunately, this can leave you irritable, cranky, and stressed, which could end up ruining the first day, or even first few days of your vacation. Avoid caffeine in for the day, put your devices away, and get to bed early. And for a good night's sleep every night you're away, take earplugs, an eye mask and a vial of dream-inducing oils. This also coincides with point 2 - getting enough rest means you're less likely to feel wretched and worn out when you get home!
"Laughter is an instant vacation."
- Milton Berle
5. Take Care Of Your Body
With lack of sleep, strange foods, and a different climate, vacations can take their toll on your body, leading to tiredness, stress, and sometimes even sickness. Because of this, it’s vital that you take care of yourself properly. Make sure you get the vaccinations you need beforehand, only drink bottled water where possible, be careful of where you eat, get enough sleep, and remember to exercise. Other ways I stay well include avoiding eating on flights or choosing the lightest option and no alcohol on long haul flights; and I take my vitamins, probiotics, protein powders, greens powders, pre-workout, hydration sticks and after workout formulas (these are great support and recovery for big days adventuring), plus a shaker cup. Some are individually packaged for convenience, others I divvy into snap lock bags, label and place in my check-in baggage. Check the current rules and regulations for quantities and packaging of food to consume on the plane before you pack though, as you don't want it taken off you and you go hungry!
6. Plan Something For Your Return
After an amazing and relaxing trip, it might be the thought of heading home and going back to work that can induce anxiety, leaving you with some major post-holiday blues. Plan something to look forward to when you get back before you go. This could be a day out with your friends or family, a drink with a friend, a birthday party, or something else you know you’ll enjoy and will keep the good vibes high.
Got a good travel tip to stress less and chill more?
Let us know in the comments below.
And happy travels!