Mental illness can be horrible to deal with at the best of times, but it can easily be exacerbated while travelling. Although travelling can be exciting, the loss of a usual routine and uncertainty that comes along with that can be a big trigger in relapse into mental illness. As someone who has dealt with mental illness while travelling, here are some tips to manage your mental illness while travelling, and to allow you to enjoy your holiday as much as possible.
Make sure to check all your reservations beforehand.
It sounds stupid, but a lot of unneeded anxiety can come up from not being sure on reservation times and dates, and checking them is a simple way you can ease that anxiety. You may also want to find out more information about the place you are going and add that to the reservation information, not only so it’s all in one place, but so you’re also able to check that as well, for example, does your hotel have a room you can leave luggage in if you get in early but can’t check in? Will you have access to wifi so you can check in with family members, check maps or other activities?
Make sure you remember to take all your medications.
If you have medication, this will be very important. The biggest thing I worry about when travelling is my medication-will I have enough for the length of my trip? What if it gets lost? The biggest thing I would recommend here is making sure you have enough for the length of your trip, count it out day by day if you have to, and to leave your medication in a safe place. I have a special bag that I put inside my toiletry bag that is specifically for medication, but you may want a little box or something a bit sturdier for safety. Lastly, if you’re worried about forgetting to take medication, a good idea is to set an alarm each day to remind you. It can be easy to forget to take medication when out of a routine, so setting an alarm will not only help with reminding you, but will ultimately make you feel better, as your body will not have to deal with withdrawal.
Don’t put unneeded stress/anxiety on yourself.
When I went to Paris in 2015, I felt like I needed to see everything. My friend and I booked lots of things, and when we actually sat down, it felt like we were wasting time. This put a lot of unneeded stress on us, which was something I definitely did not need during my recovery. It’s better to have an enjoyable holiday, and have more things to come back and see another time than it is to rush around and see everything. A holiday is a time to relax, so it’s okay to relax.
You also don’t have to do all the things everyone else does, or the things you think you need to do to have fun. This is another trap I’ve fallen into. If you want to do it, do it! If you don’t want to, don’t worry about it. This is your time, and you’re allowed to spend it how you want, without feel of people judging you.
Practice self care.
Even though you’re on holiday, and you’re out of your usual routine, it’s still important to practice self care, as this will not only help ground you, but also allow you to feel better in yourself.
So here’s a few things I’ve learnt through my travels. I hope these help you, and I hope you have a pleasant holiday!