How to Combat Holiday Anxiety

For most people, going on holiday is a prime time to destress and relax. You have the opportunity to spend time with loved ones, experience new cultures, and make memories. For those with anxiety, though, trips away trigger dread and panic. 

Double-checking documents, remembering passports, adapting to a different environment, understanding a different language, and the pressure of getting enough likes on those bikini pics – the concept of travelling for anxiety sufferers can lead to panic attacks. 

As daunting as it seems, holiday apprehension can easily be combated. Here are a few ways to help overcome your anxiety. 

If you feel anxiety before you go away: 

Holidays can be overwhelming. The planning, payments, and preparation are stressful. Not to mention, you receive seemingly endless emails counting down until you finally jet off. It may all be a bit too much for you. 

Preparedness is key. Yet, having your currency exchanged, printing your boarding passes, and being packed a week in advance tends to be an inadequate way for squashing holiday anxiety. 

Anxiety is commonly experienced when you’re pushed out of your comfort zone or normal routine. Going on holiday forces us all to stray from these two things. Working on the transition between everyday life and holiday relaxation is vital in combating this. Try easing yourself into holiday mode by doing something out of the ordinary at home. Perhaps have a dance around whilst no one is watching, or have a fashion show to parade all of your holiday outfits. Whatever it is, mixing things up at home before going away will not only put you in the holiday spirit but also help take your mind off of your anxiety. 

If you are afraid of forgetting things:

I think it’s safe to say that many of us experience last-minute panic before the taxi is due to take us to the airport. You may find yourself continuously reciting mental checklists: boarding passes, passports, suitcases, phone, wallet, keys…the list goes on. 

Considering how much there is to remember, it isn’t difficult to succumb to the stress. For me, the ride to the airport brings waves of nausea, doubt, and apprehension. The journey tends to be spent checking my handbag a dozen times and praying that my case doesn’t exceed the weight limit. 

First off, give yourself excess time to complete all of your tasks and get to the airport before your flight. Whether it’s having your cases ready at the door or arriving at the airport with a few hours to spare, any extra chill time you can give yourself helps. 

Handing some responsibility to a trusted friend or family member is also a great way to ease some of the pressure. Let your pals handle the boarding passes this time. Unless, like me, you’re a bit of a control freak. 

If the thought of flying terrifies you: 

According to recent findings, a third of Brits have a fear of flying. The lack of control, fear of the unknown, and possibly apprehension surrounding the quality of the inflight meal are contributing factors adding to the people’s travel anxiety. 

Personally, my anxiety around flying made going to the airport a traumatic experience. Sweating buckets, gripping the hand of whichever family member has been unlucky enough to have to sit next to me, and bursting out in tears when the words ‘ready for departure’ are declared. I lived with this phobia for most of my teenage years until I began exercising these simple techniques. 

1. Focus on your breathing. Closing your eyes, breathing slowly and counting transports you to a calmer state of mind. 

2. Distracting yourself by talking to your pals, singing a silly song, or listening to your music helps to take your mind off the flight. 

3. Educating yourself on flight transportation removes the fear of the unknown. There are plenty of statistics to put your mind at rest. 

There are even apps to help! A few include: 

Flying Calmly – This app eliminates the element of surprise. Flying Calmly tracks your route and tells you how much turbulence is expected throughout your flight. (https://apps.apple.com/us/app/flying-calmly/id1042610682) 

Soar App – This app offers a G-force meter, weather updates, and turbulence information for your flight. Not to mention, it has on-demand videos catered towards easing anxiety. (https://www.fearofflying.com/app/) 

Am I Going Down? – A bit dire but this app will calculate how likely it is for your plane to crash. Great in eliminating the fear of the unknown… but cannot imagine it being everyone’s cup of tea. (https://apps.apple.com/us/app/amigoingdown-fear-of-flying/id950258805) 

If you feel pressure to post the perfect Instagram pic:

The digital age has introduced a new form of stress when posting online. The pressure to look ‘perfect’ and show off your vacation online can ruin a holiday in moments, especially if you suffer from anxiety. 

It’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to impress online. Whether it’s getting the best angle to make your stomach look flatter or deciding which filter to add to make the sky look a little bluer, most of us spend far too much time crafting perfection online and not enjoying our holiday. 

Try putting your phone down and simply enjoying where you are. And if you do want to capture the moment then do just that. Don’t try and alter your reality into something it is not. It’s better to look back on a completely authentic memory rather than one tweaked to “perfection.” 

Checking out and getting involved in campaigns and charities catered towards improving body image can be a great help too. The Be Real Campaign and The Mix are worth a look.

Karis Nash

Lifestyle Writer

Aspiring writer and animal lover, Karis, is a 20-year-old media student from the UK. If not found indulging in a chai latte and reading Vogues latest edition, you may find Karis walking around central London with a camera in her hands. She loves to travel and wishes to discover all that the world has to offer.

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