How many kinds of stress does travel bring up? Are you relieved to find your reserved seat on the plane, store your luggage in the overhead bin, and then plunk down – secure for the moment knowing you overcame all the obstacles of getting here.
Travel stress comes in a wide range of intensity. For me, sometimes it’s a little blip, but at other times it’s like a road bump.
First there is planning stress. There seems to be a voice in my head, pestering me with questions: Will I get a good deal on tickets? Will I find flights on the days I want to travel? Aisle or window seat? What about lodging -- can I find a reasonably priced hotel with a fitness center?
There is the departure stress: Heading to the airport, “did I’s” come up: Did I lock the front door? Did I bring my ticket? Did I take out the garbage?
At the destination, there is arrival stress: Delays with luggage, shuttles or cabs can be vexing, depending on my tolerance level. Okay, I’ve reached the hotel room, and I want nothing more than to totally relax. Ah, there is the mini-bar. I open it to see what’s inside– a bar of chocolate, a bottle of wine, it’s tiny, really. And little packages of snacks. Tempting - but not today!
How to counteract travel stress? Here are ideas:
Planning stress. I pause for a minute to remember I’ve flown a million times before, and every time arrangements were made, destinations were reached, and here I am.
Departure stress. Buffer the anxious moments by giving myself extra time – before departure. Pack the night before and use a departure check list.
- Dishwasher off - check!
- AC set at 80 - check!
- Garbage thrown out - check!
- Laptop by the door - check!
- Boarding pass - check!
Instead of pushing on to the airport, regardless of feeling tense, take 2 minutes for slow breathing .....arrive at the departure gate, more relaxed than before.
Arrival stress. Before reaching for a snack or pouring a drink, consider other options to de-stress, – A hot bath/shower? A short nap? Flick on the tube? Take a walk, go for a swim, or do a quick workout in the fitness center?
However, if snacks are what you need to de-stress, “Calories, shalories, I deserve a treat!” You are making a conscious choice, and hurray for being self-aware.
So, how do you manage travel stress? I’d love to hear about the ways that help you make travelling more enjoyable.