Mental Health + Travel: How to Maintain the Balance
A lot of time goes into preparing to travel overseas. Preparation should go into any trip whether you are traveling for one week or one year. Ready...set...travel, but wait, have you taken time for self care? You read that right—have you checked in with your mental health? Before, you embark on a new adventure surrounded by new cultures, experiences and people?
Mental health in the black community is often ignored. There are leaders in our community who are helping to break the stigma around mental health. Traveling to new environments can ignite new emotions and resurfaces old ones. Sometimes traveling allows people to escape their life, but you cannot escape your mental health.
We at LMDES, have complied a list of resources to make sure your adventures abroad are healthy and fulfilling. Let’s keep this conversation going. Tweet us and let us know how you stay mentally healthy while traveling!
We are with you.
Eat healthy and stay hydrated
All the flights and hikes and catching that last minute bus ride can have a tole on your body when traveling. Staying hydrated is extremely important to make sure your body is adjusting to the new environments and keeps you refreshed and energized. Some of the effects of dehydration are fatigue, dry skin and decreased coordination. None of which are fun when you are trying to site see and live like a local! Tips for staying hydrated during trips include carrying an empty water bottle and adding chia seeds to your drink. Check out these resources for more ways on how to stay hydrated.
Even though you probably don't want to spend your time counting calories when you are traveling it’s important to stay healthy. Try eating at least one healthy meal a day. All the sugary food and drinks can begin to weigh your body down. Here are some insightful food blogs that show you how to stay healthy while overseas. Being proactive about your health helps to prevent avoidable situations. Staying healthy will ensure the peace and growth of your mind body and soul.
Keep a journal and books
While having your well-deserved Eat, Pray, Love moment be sure to document and release stresses and pains that might be on your heart. Keep books around to help you plug into your imagination, and not the Internet 24/7. If you are traveling solo reading is great way to spend time with your thoughts. Here are some books list that will help spark your imagination and teach you a new thing or two.
There are thousands of benefits to journaling. Journaling helps you gain clarity about your thoughts, increases creativity and helps shift perspective so you can see how beautiful life really is. Traveling allows us the freedom to reflect on life. It show us where we have been, where we are and where we are going. Traveling is think-forward action. You had courage to hop on the plane and that same courage is inside of you to reflect and grow from the pain and hurts that life often gives us.
When traveling make sure to spend time alone, even if you went with a group. Spend alone time reading and journaling and showing yourself some serious self-love. Here are a few tips on good journal practice if you are just getting started.
Routine and Preparation
It’s impossible to completely avoid the stresses of life and traveling. But preparing and keeping these tips in mind will help your trip go a lot smoother and decrease the chances of triggers you may have. If you take prescription medication make sure to take that in your carry-on and carry it in your purse day to day. Time changes can often throw off your schedule and while enjoying your trip and getting lost in the sun you want to make sure you have it.
Also do your research before hand. Have you met all the visa requirements? Is your passport up to date? Have you received the necessary vaccines for the country you are visiting? Do you have travel Insurance? Being proactive with the grunt work that comes with traveling can help create an enjoyable experience. Make sure you have travel insurance and triple check your policy to see if they cover any mental health and have copies of important documents such as your passport. The Center for Disease Control has outlined these in-depth steps you should take before, during and after your trip. Check out them out here with other resources on how to prepare.
Meet new people
Traveling separates you from you normal support systems of friends and family which can cause anxiety. Travel slowly and allow yourself time to meet the locals. Challenge yourself to speak to people on the train or buses or while you wandering around in the city town square. Don't be afraid to ask questions! Ask questions about their cultural and customs and be okay with embracing your new surroundings. It can be scary to travel but by stepping outside of your comfort zone you may quickly learn that we are far more alike than we are different.
How are you taking care of yourself while traveling?
Dominique Jackson is a contributing writing for Las Morenas de España. She is a native of Columbus, Ohio and believes the world is at her fingertips and ready to be explored. She caught the travel bug when studied international reporting in Dublin, Ireland. She believes that pursuing purpose is not an option and loves encouraging other people to live a fulfilling life. She is a lover of God, family, and friends. In her free time, she enjoys oatmeal raisin cookies and dancing to Hamilton. To connect with Dominique follow her on IG at dominiquenoel_ or view her work at dominiquenoeljackson.com