Moving around, traveling to new places can be thrilling. But this isn’t the case for everyone. Many people like to explore new places but suffer at the hands of underlying mental health issues. I was in a similar situation once. Even though I loved the idea of travel, every time I visited a new country, homesickness and depression took over. I would spend hours without uttering a word, overthinking things, and crying at times.
That’s when I started looking for a source of motivation. People who loved to travel just like me but were overcoming issues that were complicated. While I was looking for support, I came across a writer who became so strung out during her trip that she was on the verge of Hypomania. It is a situation where a person starts chattering, is sleep deprived, and often makes risky decisions. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder later, and it made things very difficult for her. The similarity between our situation was the way we both faced sudden waves of depression.
I met more people who were from different walks of life. Some were writers, travelers, and college students who faced the same issues as me. After interviewing them and implementing what I’d learned from them, I started to see the change in me.
While traveling, getting a hold of yourself is essential. You often get stuck in situations where you are no longer living in the moment. Therefore, even if you don’t have anything diagnosed, looking after your mental health is very important.
MENTAL HEALTH TIPS FOR TRAVEL
Here are some tips that helped me rise above every situation. If you find yourself in similar situations, consider following them to alleviate your condition.
1. Never Compromise on Your Sleep
While traveling, we often ignore our sleep cycle – which is a big mistake. The Royal College of Psychiatrists says that an occasional night without sleep won’t hurt you much. But, if you skip rest often, you might find it challenging to make decisions. For some people, this might lead to depression.
So, while traveling, I make sure my sleep cycle doesn’t get disturbed. A comfortable neck pillow and a sleep mask are always in my travel bag. Moreover, if I have my phone charged (I keep a power bank with me, always!), I make sure to listen to some soothing music as it helps me sleep in peace.
For some reason, caffeine has almost no effect on my sleep. So, I don’t mind drinking tea as it helps me relax. Make sure to stay hydrated as air travel can lead to dehydration.
Another reason why I mentioned sleep is because of the difference in time zones. I remember facing trouble while I traveled to Europe. It took me two days to get a hold of the day itself. To overcome it, I started following the local time and stopped worrying about what time it is back home.
2. Don’t Leave Your Medication Behind
Most people who are battling depression or other issues, need medication to stabilize their mood. So, if you need the support of medicines, don’t forget to take them with you while traveling. Buy a pill case and mention days of the week on it.
Most tourists get so excited about seeing new places that they forget about taking their pills on time. Missing one on any given day might be okay, but missing them back to back would land you in trouble. Even in some cases, it can trigger an underlying issue.
3. Stay Active
The busier you are, the less likely you’ll think of bad things! This is the first tip that I adhered to while overcoming my issues – especially depression. On top of that, physical fitness is essential! Plus, our mental and physical health go hand in hand. Now you don’t have to be always running around, find activities you love doing.
For instance, I like to spend time on the beach. I look at the waves, maybe take a dip now and then. I find it refreshing, relaxing, and fun at the same time. At the same time, I follow strict routines. And exercise is such is an integral component for mental health. On holidays, it is easier to throw your schedule out of the window. If you follow a regime back home, try to continue it while traveling.
4. Always Eat Healthily
People who treat their bodies like a temple stay both mentally and physically sound. I stick to three a day meal plan and never skip breakfast no matter what. While traveling, it often becomes tempting to try local cuisine, but you don’t have to do it for every meal. Try consuming fruits as much as possible. A breakfast buffet at hotels offers different fruits that you can try. Drink a lot of juices to keep yourself fresh.
5. Travel with Someone Reliable
People have been heading out making solo trips ever since the inception of formal travel. But if you struggle with mental health while exploring the world, consider traveling with a reliable friend. Make sure to choose your travel buddies wisely. It becomes more critical if you have a mental health condition. Know what your limits are and don’t overdo things while partying.
Remember, too much alcohol and drugs of any kind can precipitate an underlying issue. Therefore,, you will be relying on your travel buddy to keep you sober. Make sure they know about your condition and can assist when necessary.
Final Thoughts on Maintaining Mental Health As You Travel
Lastly, you don’t have to rush to do everything. Sometimes, downtime is necessary to keep your mental health in shape. So, don’t be embarrassed if you go to sleep early or prefer getting a massage done instead of hitting the town.