Anxiety is not fun. It never is, but it gets even worse when traveling, and when being in an unfamiliar environment. Quite frequently, anxiety tends to get brushed off as not being so serious, even as it has become more of a recognized issue in today’s society. However, that is not how individuals who live anxiety should be coping with it. It is serious, it is not fun to have, but that doesn’t mean you can’t also live a normal life when you do have it. Merriam-Webster defines anxiety in medical terms as, “an abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often marked by physical signs (such as tension, sweating, and increased pulse rate), by doubt concerning the reality and nature of the threat, and by self-doubt about one’s capacity to cope with it.”
Traveling is supposed to be something fun, and unfortunately, anxiety can tend to take the fun out of things, making them more stressful than they need to be. It gets even harder, when those you may be traveling with, do not understand what it is like to have anxiety. Sure, sometimes it’s easier to just let the anxiety take over and to stay in a safe, comfortable environment that you know. But then you let life pass you by.
If you want to travel, you absolutely can – even with anxiety. Plan ahead, get to the airport/bus or train station earlier than you need to because then you’re there and you don’t have to worry about missing your departure. Have an itinerary. Even if it’s just for you, and nobody else ever sees it, having a list of everything you want to do or see, will help, especially when friends don’t have a plan or a place in mind. Map routes out ahead of time. For example, if you’re in Rome and want to see the Trevi Fountain and Colosseum in the same day, look up the best way to get from one to the other before you leave wherever it is your staying, so you don’t have to be walking around with your phone out in front of you, and worrying about whether or not it will get stolen.
And if you feel that even after doing these, you’re still anxious, take a deep breath. Count to ten. Tell yourself you will be okay, and that your anxiety does not control your life.
Anxiety is not fun to live with. Sometimes it feels next to impossible. And some days it even feels as though you will be swallowed up by it. But you are in control of your own life. Anxiety cannot control you if you do not give it the power to. When you’re traveling, you’re supposed to be having fun, and yes, it is definitely not a stress-free process, but you can’t allow the stress to suck out all the fun. Enjoy the moment and try to remember that anxiety can’t keep you down forever.
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