Published by Kate
Have you ever gotten stressed while taking a vacation? The large crowds get to you or you are unable to relax? Do you feel like you are doing too much in a short amount of time? You just feel overwhelemed?
This happened to me recently.
My husband and I typically go on small–three to four day–vacations. We usually go to the same place; our little peice of heaven. Every so often we do a larger week long vacation. This year it was to the west coast.
The first few days were packed. We had museums planned, shows planned, everyday there several places to go. This can be stressful, always being on the go, but is manageable as long as you have an outlet to release the stress. That is to say, self-care is extremely important when you are on vacation.
The hotel we were staying at for the first leg of our west coast adventure didn’t have a bath tub. I know this seems like a silly thing but for me taking a bath is how I relax. Baths are essential to my self-care routine; so I lacked an outlet to maintain my anxiety. This made me more vulnerable to have the anxiety/stress attack that I had.
What I should have done was had alternative self-care options planned.
How do you practice self-care while on vacation?
Firstly, you’re on vacation so it is ok to be selfish on occasion. Do something for yourself; something that you want to do. It is your vacation as well; so you don’t have to please everyone or sacrifice your mental health.
The website Health Nut Nomad states, in their article 9 Ways to Practice Self-Care While Traveling, that “Sometimes a breath of fresh air, away from people (especially if you’re traveling in a big group) is just what the doctor ordered” (Amanda Zetah, Health Nut Nomad, 2017). Whether you take an entire day or just an hour some time to yourself can be extremely helpful. How do you do this?
Well you could always do the bath method that I do. Hotels can have some of the nicest bathtubs around; jaquizzis, large soaker tubs, or just regular tubs a nice hot bath really relaxes me. I try to take an hour to myself every other day or so when I am traveling. I fill up a tub and stream a movie. The warm water helps relax my muscles and focusing on a movie really gets my mind off of things.
But what if that is not available or an option?
I went onto Instagram and asked people what they like to do. I got some really good ideas from people.
Meditation was mentioned by one person. Meditation is a great way to destress ones mind and body. If you are unfamiliar with meditation the website How To Meditate provides some great incite into meditation. But when your on vacation where can you meditate?
The great thing about meditation is you can do it pretty much anywhere. Your hotel room, the bathroom, or by a nice pond; pick a place that you find relaxing. You can look up places online before your trip. In my opinion the breathing aspects to meditation is great for anxiety; it has helped me prevent several attacks.
When researching this topic I found this blog called Breathe Travel; it has an article on the Eight Best Places To Practice Meditation. It has some great resources for women while traveling.
Reading was another suggestion I recieved via social media. Accodring to the website Bustle, “studies have shown to lower your heart rate and ease muscle tension quickly and effectively.” The term for this is bibliotheraphy and it is a concept named by Presbyterian minister Samuel M. Crothers in 1916 (PsychCentral.com, Why Novel Reading Reduces Anxiety, 2018).
When your reading your mind is concentrating on something other than what has caused you to be anxious. It allows your mind to escape so your “brain is able to experience and empathize with the words, which helps you identify and express what’s happening inside of you” (Exploring Your Mind, Reading Can Combat Anxiety and Depression, November 13, 2016). According to study, quoted in the article Why Novel Reading Reduces Anxiety on the website PsychCentral.com, conducted at Emory University:
“…has shown that novel reading enhances connectivity in the brain as well as improving brain function…The neural changes that we found associated with physical sensation and movement systems suggest that reading a novel can transport you into the body of the protagonist…the neural changes weren’t just immediate reactions, but persisted the mornings after the readings as well as for five days after participants completed the novel” (Carol Clark & Gregory Berns, Emory University eScienceCommons Blog, December 17, 2013).
Whether you are reading a comic book, a novel, or a magazine it appears that reading can really help anxiety. So it isn’t suprising that many people are seen reading on airplanes or at the airport.
Physical Fitness. This is one of my ‘go to’s’ when it comes to managing my anxiety and depression. It is super hard to get motivated to go the gym at whatever hotel you are staying at. That doesn’t mean you can’t get some endorphins running throughout your body. If your feeling stressed go for a walk; take a stroll through the area your vacationing at and let the sun hit your skin.
You can even stream some yoga on youtube and stretch it out in your hotel room. If your not into yoga there are plenty of other workouts you can find on youtube or other streaming services. If your not int he streaming mood you can always do a lap in the hotel pool.
The most important thing about traveling is making sure you take some time for yourself.
Regardless of whether your on vacation or a buisness trip you need to carve out sometime for you. This will help to lessen your anxiety and allow you to have a good time. Practicing self-care while one is away can be tricky but it is not impossible. What I discussed are just some of many other options that can be available.
If you can do some research on places that accomodate your typical self-care practices. The internet is a great tool for finding places so it shouldn’t take up too much time to find places or things to help you with your self-care techniques. So when you are packing your clothes, camera, phone charger, and toothbrush make sure you include some ways for self-care.