Anxiety can be a real drag on your self-esteem. It can tell you things like, “You can’t do this. Why are you even trying?” but I’m here to help you say, “NO!” to that negative voice in your head and help you discover your true self! Everyone has fears and doubts but the trick is to acknowledge it and tell that anxiety straight up, “I know your here but I will not engage in any plans you have for me. I am in control, not you!” Although some days are better than others, you have to weigh in the good and bad when your traveling, and in life in general, to try to look on the bright side of situations. I know its easier said than done but don’t you worry, you’ll get there one day with help from a few words of wisdom.
Here are a handful of insights that can help you overcome your anxiety while on the road.
Know that things will go wrong
We don’t live in a perfect world and not everything is going to go according to plan. Try to be flexible and know that you will get through it one way or another!
In stressful moments, try to take a deep breath and let it all out. You might feel lost or defeated but by taking control of your emotions, you will have the chance to take a step back and analyze the situation. Don’t feel discouraged when something goes wrong because you can’t change those things. What you can change is how you react in the situation and that changes everything.
Know your limits
Some days you will go out of your comfort zone and push your limits to the max. In that case, take some days to relax and recharge. Don’t worry about seeing everything you want to see. Instead, learn your trigger points and have a night in for a change without feeling guilty. This way you’ll be able to travel the next day without being worn out.
I’ve had my fair share of Netflix and snacking nights where I would cozy up on my top bunk and just let go. I wouldn’t care if I didn’t go out partying with my hostel friends because I knew my body and mind needed that rest. Before, I would have been guilty about staying in and not using my time wisely. I would have said to myself, “You are in a foreign country! Why are you not taking advantage of that?” If I did decline the invitation to go out, I would stay up all night and feel guilty about it. Overtime, I realized that its okay to not do everything you wanted during your trip. We’re not meant to over exhaust ourselves to live it up. We have one body in our life and we need to take care of it.
Whenever you feel a heavyweight on my shoulders, try to acknowledge those thoughts. Write them down if you can. You need to understand that your feelings are meant to be felt and it’s your body’s way of telling you something. Listen to your body and what triggers you. If you look closely, you will learn something from them.
Giving yourself the change to plan out your route can ease your mind tremendously. It doesn’t have to be days or weeks in advance either. It can be simply planning how long it will take you to get to the train station or airport from your hostel to know what time you need to leave. This helps prepare yourself for the journey and can make it a little less daunting, especially if you are traveling alone.
I always have google maps downloaded to my phone and screenshots of my hostels address just in case. This can come in handy when you don’t have wifi and you are not sure where to go. When in doubt, just ask someone and point to the picture on your phone. If you are looking to save a some cash, make sure to download local apps and other apps to save you money. Another travel tip is to keep all your accommodation information in a google document and share it with your family or someone you trust.
Do some research and make sure you know the currency and the official language of the country you are going to. If you can, practice some basic phrases. They will go a long way, trust me. You’ll feel more prepared and confident once you arrive.
Know that you are not alone
I’ve had my fair share of solo traveling and there were times where I felt very lonely. I would stay cooped up in my hostel dorm hiding under the blankets until it was morning. I wanted to make friends but I afraid to put myself out there. I didn’t talk to people for days and I was feeling extremely alone. I realized that I needed to find a way to connect with people without feeling so vulnerable. I searched on Facebook, “Solo female travelers” in the search bar and found a bunch of women sharing their incredible stories about how they travel around the world alone and love it! I started to feel inspired and empowered by their pictures and words. I decided to join the group and be a part of this traveling family. I look up to these woman and because of them, I am not as lonely anymore. They have shown me that everyone can feel isolated at times but they get through it.
So here’s a piece of advice for you, go on Facebook and search up anything that you are interested in. It could be travel related or it could be something completely different. Find some groups to be apart of and join their community. Use the power of social media to bring like-minded people together and share your story. I promise you it will be worth it.
If social media isn’t your thing, try to take baby steps to get outside your comfort zone. Start by talking to your hostel mates then challenge yourself to take a new class or go on a tour. You are bound to meet some individuals there who are traveling just like you are. If that sounds too daunting, go to a bookstore and find a book to get lost in or head to the movie theater to watch a film. You don’t always need to connect with people. It can be as simple as a good book, a favorite movie or song, anything that brings you comfort.
Ask for help
I hope you can remember these helpful tips next time you aren’t feeling like yourself. A lot of people, including me, stuffer from anxiety and know that it’s not something that’s easy to talk about. It can feel like you are trapped inside a body you don’t want, or like the word is against you, but when you are in that moment, just try to take a deep breath and remember things can go wrong and that’s okay. We need to start getting comfortable with the idea of being uncomfortable and speak up when we need help because needing help should be seen as a weakness, it should be seen as a strength. We are strong enough to ask for help when we need it, not the other way around. We are strong enough to reach out to one another and who knows, maybe they are needing some help too.
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