5 Tips for Staying Calm During Holiday Travel

Don’t let anxiety keep you from experiencing the joy of travel.

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- Posted on Nov 2, 2018

Woman looking at departure board in airport

The holiday season is just around the corner, which means it’s also travel season for many who must venture far to visit their friends and loved ones.

Travel can be a beautiful, eye-opening experience. Unfortunately, travel anxiety can make trips more stressful than enjoyable. The good news is that if you experience travel anxiety you are not alone, and you don’t have to stay trapped in an endless cycle of worry.

Here are five practical ways you can manage your travel anxiety:

1. Exercise before you leave

It’s no secret that exercise can be a powerful antidote to anxiety. This is because cardiovascular activity releases endorphins, which can reduce feelings of stress. Even a ten-minute walk before your leave for your journey can be enough to release these feel-good chemicals and ensure you start your trip on the right foot.

2. Plan ahead

Lack of knowledge is a surefire way exacerbate travel stress. Plan ahead as much as possible to minimize in-the-moment panic. Make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to get to the airport or bus station, and do research ahead of time to know what to expect about checking in and finding your gate. Knowing where you are going will eliminate unnecessary anxiety.

3. Pack smart

Make sure you have everything you need to ensure smooth travels. For flying, an eye mask, calming essential oil and laptops might be helpful. For road trips, healthy snacks or an audio book might be just what you need to stay calm. Make a list and pack early to keep your journey worry free.

4. Practice relaxation techniques

When travel anxiety strikes, it can send your brain into overdrive. Relaxation exercises can be helpful to lower your heart rate and return your breathing to normal. Guideposts blogger Holly Lebowitz Rossi recommends a five-finger breathing exercise to help you calm down.

“Make a fist. As you inhale through your nose, slowly uncurl your thumb and index fingers,” Rossi writes. “As you exhale through your mouth, slowly open your middle, ring, and pinky fingers.”

The key is to exhale longer than you inhale, which will put you into a parasympathetic stat, where your muscles relax and your heart slows down.

Want more relaxation exercises? Try these five prayers for safe travel.

5. Keep your mind busy

The worst thing you can do for travel anxiety is stew. If you find yourself getting worried on the road, take immediate action to distract yourself. Read a book, listen to a podcast or take a walk during a layover. Occupying your brain will help distract you from your travel worries.

How do you manage travel anxiety?

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