According to Anxiety UK, one in six people have experienced some form of anxiety disorder. There are many causes for anxiety, including stress at work, home life, past events or traumas and financial stress. Many people struggle with unfamiliar places, large crowds and flying.
For this post, I wanted to focus on ways to stay calm on a stressful journey. Whether it be before travel, or during travel, panic attacks and anxiety can happen at anytime. I wanted to give a few tips on what I do when I travel and what you can do if you find yourself in a stressful situation.
I am definitely not an expert in this field, and you should seek as much advice and support as you can if you suffer with severe anxiety and panic attacks.
What is a panic attack?
It can be quite a scary feeling, here are some examples of what you may experience:
shortness of breath
Your ears ringing
What can you do if you feel anxious or stressed?
Talk to yourself. You are going to be fine. Let it pass, everything will be ok.
Tips before you travel:
1) Get organised. Pack your bags early, make sure you have everything you need. I usually make a list of everything I need, then check it off as I go along.
2) Give yourself plenty of time. Rushing makes you stressed and even more anxious. Allow yourself plenty of time to get to your destination, and if you are unsure of where you are meant to be going, ask someone for help. You don’t want to stress about being in the wrong place.
3) Plan. Planning is very important. If you have to go to a meeting, an interview, an event, make sure you plan in advance what time you will be leaving, where the place is and so on. Things happen, such as delays and changes, but if you have planned in advance, you will be able to cope better with things like this.
4) Take someone with you on the journey. If you are going to be travelling somewhere and you feel anxious about it, ask a friend or family member to come with you. If you can’t do this, make sure that you talk to someone on the journey and have a trusted friend or family member that you can call if you feel that you are becoming stressed.
5) Set alarms. If you have an early start, set two or three alarms so you can be sure you won’t miss the alarm and be late.
6) Eat a light meal before travel so you feel comfortable and prepare some drinks and food for your journey. Travelling when you are hungry can make your anxiety worse.
Tips during travel:
1) Drink lots of water. Drink water before you travel and bring a bottle with you on your trip or buy one as soon as you can.
2) Bring snacks. Fruit and nuts are good options to give you energy for your trip. I always feel better if I know that I have snacks to boost my energy.
3) Take your mind off the travel. Read a book, do a puzzle, colour, draw, whatever keeps your mind off the journey.
4) Listen to calming music. I always find that when I listen to calming music when I am feeling stressed it does help me relax.
5) Breathe!! Breathe in deeply and slowly and exhale and repeat.
6) Be prepared for panic attacks and sickness. I always carry a plastic bag with me in case I feel sick. If you’re in an unfamiliar place, research local doctors before your journey so you can react quickly. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from local people or other passengers. Always have a friend or family member on speed dial. Make sure you have the resources you need.
7) If you can, wear comfortable clothing. Make sure you are not wearing anything too tight and uncomfortable.
8) Bring a travel pillow, or blanket to keep you warm and comfortable.
9) If you are having a panic attack, do the breathing techniques, take your time, drink some water. Find someone to help you and stay with you until it passes.
Tips in general:
Look after yourself. Eat well, exercise, drink lots of water and make time for yourself.
Surround yourself with positive people. I try and steer clear of negative energy as much as possible. Being around negative energy only brings you down and is incredibly draining.
Spend time outside of work with people who make you feel happy. There have been times when I have experienced a lot of anxiety and unhappiness being in certain situations. Spend quality time with people who make you feel comfortable. You don’t need unnecessary stress.
Make new friends. Join some groups and meet some new people. This will take you out of your comfort zone but it will boost your confidence. Take little steps and you will get there.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
Some helpful websites:
Have you experienced anxiety or panic attacks? Let me know your stories.