Whether for work or for fun, traveling long distances is bound to include moments of stress and anxiety. Even the most stoic and steadfast travelers can find themselves overwhelmed with negative thoughts and emotions. And if you’re traveling alone, the risk of experiencing a mental health episode can increase.
Traveling to new places all by yourself can no doubt be an exhilarating experience, but it can also be extremely difficult. It can be hard to think clearly and act rationally when angry, upset, and alone, but it doesn’t have to be this way! There are several ways for travelers to find mental health support while thousands of miles away from home. Here are six to consider:
Reach out to loved ones
Anxiety, depression, and stress while traveling can often be traced to homesickness. With this in mind, consider reaching out to friends and loved ones back home. Talking to them about your experiences – as well as your problems – can be an effective way to clear your head and reset your emotional state. Those with experience may be able to offer helpful advice for you going forward. For instance, have any of your relatives traveled alone overseas before? If so, ask them if they have any advice for easing anxiety while traveling alone.
Speak with a licensed professional
While friends and family can provide valuable emotional support, they’re not qualified to help you with serious mental health concerns. If you’re genuinely concerned about your mental health, consider speaking with a licensed professional. Scheduling online psychiatry appointments is easier than you think. Online sessions with a licensed therapist are as beneficial as traditional sessions done in person. They help you put your emotions in perspective, offer practical solutions, and always listen to what you have to say.
Find information online
There’s no shortage of so-called advice online aimed at those experiencing mental health challenges. Most of it is baseless bunk written by people with no business offering solutions to those in need. But some of it is authored by legitimate experts and published by reliable sources. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) is a trustworthy place to start. Their recommendations for finding help for mental illnesses can be considered safe and reliable. Your online therapist can provide further suggestions for helpful online resources.
Practice mindfulness techniques
Finding healthy and productive ways to manage stress and anxiety can be a game-changing process for travelers experiencing mental health problems. Yoga, meditation, breathing techniques, and other ways to achieve mindfulness are effective methods of minimizing the toll that stress and anxiety can take on someone, especially when they’re thousands of miles away from their nearest friend. From the airport to the hotel to everywhere you explore, the ability to put your negative emotions in perspective and recognize the upsides to your situation will undoubtedly help you through the tough times.
Avoid drugs and alcohol
Drugs and alcohol are often used as a way to cope with emotional stress and anxiety. They’re also widely available around the world. While ducking into the nearest bar to ease your stress can sound like a good idea at the time, it only masks the problem. What’s more, the effect is temporary. Before you know it, you’re depending on drugs and alcohol to alleviate your mental health problems. With this in mind, avoid addictive substances at all costs. It’s never a good idea.
Seek spiritual guidance
Having faith in a higher power is something we decide for ourselves. Not everyone thinks it’s a good idea, and it’s their right to think that way. Plenty of people do just fine without spiritual guidance. But if you’re someone who practiced religion regularly back home, consider seeking out the nearest congregation.
Long-distance travel is bound to involve stress and anxiety. You may even find yourself feeling sad and depressed. While it might feel like a hopeless situation – especially if you’re traveling alone – there are ways to get the help you need. Friends, family, and experts are there to provide support and assistance. Combined with a personal commitment to better health and wellness, you’ll find yourself with a new lease on life and plenty of time to make the most of it going forward.
Julie Steinbeck is a freelance writer from Florida. She enjoys covering topics related to business, family, and travel.