If you’re a regular reader of this blog or you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that I suffer with anxiety. It’s quite obvious really, I’ve spoken about it enough and I’m always as open and honest as I can possibly be with my mental health because I know that so many other people suffer too. My anxiety journey has been a long, complicated and quite frankly, weird one. I won’t go into the details here but you can find out more about my personal anxiety journey throughout my Mental Health category if you wish to know more! Going about my day to day life has become increasingly more difficult since I developed this condition. I get anxious about almost everything but over the years I’ve pushed and pushed myself and I’d say I’m in a semi-decent place at the moment in regard to my mental health.
Holidays are something I’ve always enjoyed. I may not have always been on the most exotic, the furthest, or the most exciting, but holidays are a way to relax, unwind, spend time with loved ones, and just forget about the daily grind for a while. Well… relaxing and unwinding are much more difficult when you have anxiety and your brain doesn’t allow you to relax or unwind because it sees everything – yes, even that child playing on a swing – as a potential threat. Fun times eh?
But I think everyone, whatever their illness, mental or physical, should be able to go on and enjoy holidays if it’s possible for them. And thankfully now we’re in a time where technology and advances in equipment are making holidays more doable and more accessible for people that need extra help. I never understood any type of struggle with going on holiday before my anxiety hit – I was incredibly naive. But if anything, it’s made me all the more grateful for the holidays I do go on and the times where my anxiety does let me enjoy myself instead of trying to ruin my life.
I’ve learnt various coping strategies for dealing with going on holiday since I was diagnosed because I don’t want to miss out on holidays and short breaks because of my mental health. Thankfully, electric wheelchairs are ideal for those who have problems with their mobility and are a great aid for some people on holiday. Whilst I don’t have the experience on having a physical disability, I do understand how debilitating a mental one can be so here are some of my best tips for dealing with anxiety when it comes to holidays:
Get organised well in advance
Leaving things until the very last minute is enough to send anyone’s nerves sky rocketing, but being prone to anxiety anyway, feeling out of control and like I’m not organised makes things even worse. I always make lists of things I want to take, print anything out that needs printing, ensure I have tickets and vouchers and whatever else I might need handy at least 3 days before I go.
Which leads me nicely onto this point… lists. Lists are your very best friend if you’re anxious about going on holiday and the whole process of going on holiday makes your mind a bit frantic. I make lists for just about everything and I usually make them in the notes on my phone because that way, I can add a check list and tick things off as I go along. I make a list of clothes, toiletries, food to take if necessary – anything that can go in a list, will!
Research everything thoroughly before going
If like me, you’re not a fan of the unknown and although you like going on holiday, you’re still anxious about new places then researching before you go definitely helps. I always make sure I check out the hotel on various sites, look at photos, read reviews (although only the good ones – please don’t torment yourself with the bad ones, people will honestly moan about anything these days!), the local restaurants – anything that you think you’ll be doing.
Wake up early
When I’m actually on the holiday, I always make sure I wake up early (a lot earlier than my partner) for a number of reasons. Firstly, rushing can heighten your anxiety so waking up early to allow yourself more time is definitely helpful. Secondly, I like structure and order, so waking up early allows me to have a little “holiday morning routine” which sticking to each morning can calm my nerves. And lastly, it’s quiet. Holidays are usually frantic and busy, but waking up early gives me some time alone in the quiet to assess my thoughts, maybe do a bit of meditation and just chill for a while.
Keep your coping mechanisms on you at all times
Whether that’s anxiety medication, herbal remedies, earphones, a book, a notepad – whatever you use to cope and manage your anxiety, make sure it’s with you at all times so at any point, you can whip it out and know that you have that comfort blanket. Even if you’re feeling anxious in a restaurant or on transport, pop your headphones in or get out a notepad and start jotting down your thoughts. It’s your holiday after all!
And lastly, certainly not a point that only people with anxiety need to take on board but anyone really and that’s staying hydrated. Feeling ill on holiday is one of the worse things in the world – it doesn’t matter where you are or what you’re doing but it can really ruin the experience. Although sometimes illness is unavoidable, getting dehydrated is avoidable and taking stock of how much water you drink is difficult on holiday when you’re almost constantly on the go. Keep a bottle of water with you at all times.
Do you have a physical or mental illness which you have to adapt to when it comes to holidays? What ways have you actively managed your mental health whilst away from home? Let me know!
* This post is sponsored by Pro Rider Mobility
Well holidays are for relaxation. So for me, the lists go out the window and so does the mobile phone. Turning off the mobile phone I mean. Thanks for sharing the post!
lists are my saviors!!!
Me too! Love them, couldn’t be without them!
I panick a lot on holidays! X
Love this😊 the best thing I’ve learned to do is don’t focus on the ‘what ifs’ everything will get better if you work with yourself💜
Focusing on the what ifs can definitely drive you crazy!
Definitely agree 100%, just keep your head up and live in the moment👌💜
Love this post!x
Thank you x
Coping mechanisms are so important, I get so anxious on holiday and it sucks!
Love, Amie ❤
The Curvaceous Vegan
It’s rubbish isn’t it!
Some really great tips there. I’ll keep them in mind.
Thank you 🙂
You’ve included some great ideas here. I always get up early too, I hate to feel like I’m wasting my trip.
Same! I just can’t sleep in whenever I’m away anywhere!
Great, and really helpful post! I’m moving to Prague for the semester in 2 weeks, and though it’s not exactly a holiday, I will definitely be using these tips! Being organized and knowing what is happening is so important to me!
Wow! That’s amazing! Will you be blogging about it?
Thank you for these tips. I haven’t yet travelled but I know this will come in handy when I do! Thank you for sharing!
Hope it does!
Yes to lists! I always have a list of things I need to do before we go away anywhere. From getting someone to feed the cats and water the garden to telling the postlady so parcels don’t pile up on our mat. Otherwise I can’t go away and relax properly. Fab tips, Jenny, thank you x
Lisa | http://www.lisasnotebook.com
It definitely helps you relax when you know everything is in order for when you get back 🙂
lists are so essiental to me in my everyday life, whenever i’m feeling slightly overwhelmed I made a list of the things I need to do. Even when i’d pack to come home from university for the winter break, I’d make a list of what I needed. I will defenitely be saving this post because i’m actuslly flying across the country for the first time ever in June, last time I was on an airplane was 8 years ago so I’m sure i’ll have a lot of anxiety, thanks so much for sharing this! xx i hope anxiety didn’t get in the way of your holiday too much 💓
Mich // simplymich.com
I think that’s about the same amount of time since I’ve been on a plane too! I work from a list every single day 🙂
I always make lists of things I need before I go on holiday! I feel like I’d forget something if I didn’t. Great advice
I’d definitely forget something!
This post is super helpful! I always make lists when I’m going away so I know I have everything I need and although I’m not a planner for most holidays I can’t wait to get myself organised for our Disney trip in December and plan what we’ll be doing each day so I’m not stressed when we get there! Great post lovely
Jess // foundationsandfairytales.wordpress.com
Oooh I desperately want to go back to Disneyland! I’d be planning like crazy!
I hope you get to go soon!x
Yes to all of this! I implement these steps myself when going on holiday – staying organized is a huge one for me. Loved this post!
Organisation is KING
Great post. I am wheelchair bound so a lot of adapting has to happen whenever I go on holiday. I also have a mental health condition. I find it helps to have people around me that understand my difficulties and are able to help and make me feel more comfortable. Planning in advance is always something I do as well xx
Glad to hear you seem to have good support around you!
Love this post, and it’s perfect timing for me! I’m planning a vacation about a month from now, and I’m already anxious about it. All the “what ifs” are whirling around in my mind. Thank you for the tips. I’m definitely going to put them to use!
Try not focus on the what ifs too much. You can predict everything that might go wrong but none of it will happen 🙂
Lists are always an essential for me when going on holiday. I know in the morning I’d end up forgetting something important whilst rushing around so I make sure I write down everything beforehand. I’m the same and try to include every item possible, it really helps to reduce stess. Doing research is a great way to feel prepared and lessen the anxiety of the unknown too. Great post Jenny, thanks for sharing <3 xx
Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com
It helps ticking things off so you know 100% you have them! I always panic that I’ve forgotten something but really, wherever you go, you’ll be able to pick it up there!
I’ve suffered from severe clinical depression and anxiety since I was 14 – I’m 47 now. I also have physical disabilities, so the last holiday I had was in 1988. I actually don’t mind too much, though I can’t deny I would love to be able to go somewhere really exotic lol
As long as you’re happy that’s all that matters but I think we’d all love a lavish exotic holiday! 😂
Staying hydrated is literally a lifesaver with me, and my anxiety, as well as taking snacks. I find as well when going on a plane booking seats beforehand helps not worrying if you’re going to be seated separately from who you’re travelling with.
That’s a good shout too! I haven’t travelled on a plane in about 7 years but when I do, I’d definitely do that!
These are such helpful tips! I have anxiety too and whilst I love going on holiday, I always get anxious beforehand so I like to be as prepared as possible. I love making lists anyway so that’s a must and it’s such a good idea to get sorted early xxx
Tiffany x http://www.foodandotherloves.co.uk
Yep same! I love it once I’m there, it’s just the build up that usually gets me!
I’ve suffered with anxiety generally and around travel for years. I’ve always tried to keep it secret but recently took the plunge and wrote a blog post confessing all, and was pleasantly surprised by the level of support. It’s great to see others doing the same.
I’m sure lots of people felt the same!
I literally would love to go on holiday but it is the not knowing what to do / where to go that throws me off 🙁
Go wherever you want to go! Start small 🙂
I have social anxiety so holidays, especially cruises, can be quite draining x
Social events definitely can be draining for people with anxiety. I need some alone time.
I like this a lot not only because I work in mental health but have also suffered with anxiety and depression and I love the fact that you want to reduce other people anxieties as much as you can for them to enjoy their time. Yoga was my saving grace! It allowed me the space for just me away from everything, it’s amazing for focus and you feel fitter and calmer almost instantly! It’s for all abilities and those with physical and mental health issues as everything can be modified to suit! I wish you all the positivity and light coming to you,
I do Yoga every day and I’m going to my first retreat in November. It’s literally changed my life!
These are some really important points, and things I like to follow too when I’m away from home. I often get frustrated that my anxiety is a barrier to travel, but I’m trying to accept it and learn how to deal with it rather than just letting it stop me. I love your point about getting organised and planning ahead, as that’s something that really helps me feel like I have control over what’s going to happen even in an unfamiliar place.
Megan // https://pixieskiesblog.wordpress.com/
It can really suck and make you feel really bad can’t it? But it’s best to work WITH your anxiety rather than getting annoying and frustrated 🙂
All of the lists! And sometimes I find it best to go with the flow rather than plan everything out to the tiniest detail. Allows for more room to change!
Cora | http://www.teapartyprincess.co.uk/
Yeah on occasion I do go with the flow sometimes. It’s hard with anxiety but when I learn to let go, I’m usually okay!