While the travel industry is slowly returning to normal, some people are still hesitant about the idea of venturing into the outdoors again. This includes people who are suffering from travel anxiety and panic attacks. If you’re one of them, we’ll make those anxieties fade away to help you travel once again. With that in mind, here are ways to combat travel anxiety.
Identify your triggers
Knowing the exact triggers or reasons behind your travel anxiety is the first step in learning to cope when travelling. Psychologists say identifying triggers will help you find the right coping skills. Determine these triggers by asking yourself what concerns you when it comes to travelling.
Plenty of factors trigger travel anxiety, including the lack of control and the fear of the unknown during the journey. In this case, COVID-19 and the fear of getting infected can be a potential trigger for travel anxiety.
Establish healthy boundaries
If your travel anxiety has caused you to be more conscious about travelling away from home, the pressure from your friends and family to include you on vacations can aggravate your stress. Your loved ones should respect your boundaries and understand what you’re going through. But this can only happen if you’re willing to share this information with others.
Every person has varying levels of readiness and comfort when travelling, especially since the pandemic recently happened. If you’re not yet prepared to travel or take a vacation, you have the right to say no to your family and friends. In turn, they have to respect whatever your decision.
In the meantime, consider seeing loved ones living nearby. Even a short trip or a brief meet-up at the coffee shop will make you more comfortable visiting destinations and joining groups in the near future.
Think about things you can control
By nature, travelling requires us to surrender some control. You have to be flexible enough to learn how to deal with unexpected situations, such as delayed flights, cancelled accommodations, getting lost, and medical emergencies. These things can be quite scary and challenging to deal with, especially if you have travel anxiety.
While in your comfort zone, make a list of what’s within your control during a trip. This may include the type of accommodation, vacation length, and the time you travel to the airport. Knowing these things can help ease travel anxiety.
When distressed, reading the list out loud can lessen understandable travel anxiety. People who do this share that the activity helps them feel more in control and less helpless of their future travel experience.
Exposing yourself to travelling in places you feel safe also helps address some travel anxiety. It also involves conditioning your mind that your travel experience will go well. This will reframe your thinking and lessen deep thoughts about the pandemic.
Exposure therapy helps people face their fears and ease their anxiety. This involves exposing yourself to travel elements you feel most worried about at home. For example, if you’re anxious about staying in crowded places, you can start by visiting the mall or grocery store. As you progress, you can visit other sites independently.
Ignore social media
Once you’ve decided to travel again, it’s best to stay away from social media. It’s not wise to jump on the internet and search for scary travel stories to pique your curiosity or scare yourself.
When searching for travel-related information, be intentional when choosing science-based information. Anything that is invalidated will only fuel unnecessary anxiety. Scientific resources, news articles, and reliable articles will help you make better travel decisions. This will help you overcome the fear of the unknown and develop the peace of mind.
Pack some distractions and a self-care kit
What do you do to reduce anxiety? Some people turn to movies, books, puzzles, or video games to entertain themselves and pass the time.
Whatever your preferred distraction, consider bringing it on your next trip. They will come in handy to eliminate negative thoughts while staying engaged in other positive things.
You may also create a self-care tool kit, including your medications. This may include herbal tea, essential oils, aromatherapy, a soft blanket, or anything that will keep your thoughts at bay.
Before re-engaging yourself back to travelling, it’s best to take some time to understand your comfort levels. You will also need the support of your loved ones to overcome your worries and fears. At the same time, you also need to help yourself to get out of that situation. There are plenty of places to travel around the world, so don’t let your anxiety hold you back.