I don’t always love travelling. I feel terrible saying this because I know I am incredibly lucky to have had the amazing opportunity to see different parts of the world but most of the time on these trips I am going through an internal battle with my mind. For me, there is nothing more stressful than being in an unfamiliar environment, particularly another country where I do not have control of my surroundings.
When traveling I easily get overwhelmed by the people bustling around me speaking languages that I do not understand. In these moments I always want nothing more than to go back to my hotel room and collect myself.
However, most often I just continue to push myself. There is nothing wrong with doing this. In fact when traveling it is probably good to push yourself, however, I was forgetting to practice self-care.
Over the last year, I have started to make a list for myself about how to practice self-care when I am traveling so I can enjoy the amazing opportunities it provides.
1. Do your research ahead of time
This is especially important if you are going abroad for a long period of time. Make sure you know what the country’s mental health care is like. If you are going to want to get/continue therapy see if there are people there or a therapist you can Facetime with from back home. It is also important to make sure you are stocked up on or can get your medications if you take them.
2. Listen to yourself
You may want to push yourself while abroad but it is still important to listen to what your body needs both mentally and physically. Be honest with yourself about what you can handle.
3. Sleep is important
When traveling internationally there is a lot of pressure to get in the new time zone as quickly as possible. This is important because it allows one to take full advantage of their new surroundings. However, lack of sleep can make a hard situation even worse. It is important to take the time to keep yourself in a healthy space. If you need to take a little nap now and then that is okay.
4. The same goes for food
You do not need to be on the breakfast, lunch and dinner track immediately. If it’s a weird time of day and you are hungry go eat no need to wait to eat.
5. Use technology
If you are feeling alone in a new environment use technology to get in touch with someone from home. There are plenty of amazing apps nowadays, like Whatsapp that make international communication free and easy.
6. Find times to explore
Many places are very busy during the day but are calm in the morning or late at night. Exploring when things are not quite as hectic may allow you to become more comfortable with your surroundings.
7. Meet other travellers
This can be hard for many people including myself… But, finding people who are going through similar experiences can be very comforting.
Written by Campus Rep, Meagan Anderson