International travel can be stressful and anxiety provoking for anyone not just those with mental health issues.However factors such as being away from home,feeling isolated,lack of routine e.t.c can exacerbate mental health problems.Travelelers with mental health conditions often carry the extra burden of dealing with stigmas and negative attitudes towards their conditions.Thats why it helps to be prepared!Think about how travel may affect your mental health and how you can cope!
I have started packing today for South America and I leave tomorrow in the night!I think it’s finally starting to sink in that this is actually happening,I’m actually going (fingered crossed I don’t chicken out aha!!)
I have no idea really off what to expect when I arrive in Colombia having never been before and that is a bit scary.
I have made a list of things which may help those who are anxious about travelling!
1)Give yourself some routine where possible,wether that be having a similar meal to what you would have at home,10 mins of yoga,a morning run.Putting familiar things in place can make it less daunting to be in completely unfamilliar surroundings.
2)Make sure to eat and drink enough despite being nervous!Not eating enough will leave you weak and drained.If you are recovering from an ED then this is even more so important.Dont let travel be a excuse to restrict
3)Maybe pre arrange contact with your friends,family,treatment team so you can check in with how you are doing.It can be nice to hear a familiar voice on the line and also find out how they are doing!
4)If you feel your mental health is suffering seek help as soon as possible,this can be from fellow travel companions or local services if they are available.Seeking help is not a sign of weakness,travel is destabilising and it’s ok to seek help in order to regain some stability.
5)Remeber to take your medication!!!Check it is allowed in the countries you are visiting if not you may need a doctors letter.
6)Take a journal to write in.I always make playlists for travel as listening to music and journaling is a big comfort for me.Small things can make a difference!
7)Make sure you have travel insurance.You never know what will happen and it’s worth it in the long run.
Travel may not be for everyone and if you desperately come home then you can.Ofcourse its not ideal and I am more someone who will see things through but knowing that I can always return takes away some of the anxiety for me.
Feeling excited and extremely lucky to be going away!Life is good.I expect some challenges whilst travelling but that is all part of the adventure!!