Trips, although fun, can be stressful. It starts with making sure you have the right documentation for each country you’re visiting, then snowballs from there. Are you packing the right outfits? Will it be colder than expected? Warmer? Will you need more sunscreen? What if the country doesn’t have a specific item you may need? Is the plane going to be okay? Will there be turbulence? What if our accommodations aren’t as great as they looked online? The list of worries can fill an entire Tolstoy novel. Anxiety and worry happens, but to let it ruin your trip is cruelty to yourself. There have been many times throughout my journeys that I’ve felt overwhelmed and stressed out, needing a moment to myself to take a deep breathe and manage. If you’re feeling stressed on a trip, try using these three calming techniques to keep your head level:
Quick Mindful Meditation
Yes, go the hippie route and meditate. I’m telling you, meditation can help the soul feel good. And, all you have to do is breathe. Sit down somewhere quiet with your feet grounded and your hands on your lap. Breath in. Then, breath out. Focus on your breath and only your breath. Your mind will definitely wander – keeping it still for so long is nearly impossible no matter what experienced yogis will tell you– but as you focus on your breathing, you’ll start to feel less anxious. If your home-away-from-home is a little too crowded, or if you’re out in public, focus in on the sounds around you. Listen to one sound in particular to start, then move to another one, focusing only on one sound at a time. This will help take the focus off of your worrying and onto something concrete, distracting your brain.
Take a Walk
You’ve been holed up in your hostel for too long, or you’ve been worrying about your friends who have gone out exploring. This may sound like it won’t do anything to help you de-stress, but the quick trick to calming down is to distract your mind. Taking a walk, even if it’s just around the block, down the hallway or around your room a few times, can distract you and get your blood flowing. Listen to your breathing and focus on the steps you’re making. Surprisingly, at least when you’re feeling revved up and stressed, getting up and moving a bit can help keep your mind focused on the task at hand rather than sitting and analyzing and worrying about every scenario in your mind (possible or otherwise). Grab some headphones, crank the tunes, and carry on.
Keep to a Routine
Keeping to your routine may seem counter-intuitive (you’ve left your home to try new things, right?), but staying as true as possible to the same morning routine, evening wind-down, and/or bedtime can help keep you feeling a bit more calm on a trip. Sometimes, being away and in a completely foreign country (especially those that are far from western traditions), can be overwhelming and will take away from the excitement and fun of the trip. The same as when you sleep better with your own pillow from home, a routine will help you feel more grounded and more like you’re not thousands of miles away.
*I am in no way a medical professional. These tips are my own opinions on what has worked for myself in the past, not medical advice*