The first time I flew as a young boy, I was alone and filled with nervous energy and palm-sweat anxiety. I was terrified. Since then I have taken dozens upon dozens of flights and those anxious feelings have subsided. Whether you’re usually anxious about flights, traveling out of your comfort zone or are nervous about COVID-19, there are a lot of things you can do to mitigate your anxiety when traveling. Below are some tips to deal with these uncomfortable feelings so that your trip is pleasant and enjoyable.
Prepare during COVID-19
When it comes to traveling during a pandemic, you should do whatever makes you feel comfortable. Peace of mind is so much of an anxiety when traveling, whether you’re on a flight or in a crowded area. Make sure to bring high-quality 3-ply masks or an N95 mask if you can get your hands on one.
When you’re flying, you could forgo the snacks and meals to keep your mask on. That is probably the most risky part of flying. Everyone seems to take their masks off at the same time when the food comes. Wherever you are going, wash your hands often, keep your distance, wear your masks, and you can travel safely. Take a look at the CDC guidelines if it makes you feel more prepared.
If your fears aren’t necessarily about COVID-19 and more about the experience of flying, some classic exposure therapy might help. This means essentially taking more flights. As you gain experience flying, you’ll find out just how safe it is. Even if you have some horrible turbulence, when you emerge you will realize that turbulence doesn’t equate to danger. It doesn’t matter how much you hate flying, you’ll get used to it over time.
Use Grounding Techniques
While grounding techniques won’t help you get down to the ground when you’re on a flight, they can alleviate your anxiety. When you’re nervous on a plane, describe what’s around you. Get to know the sounds of the plane and how planes work. Write down a list of items near you or goals that you have. You can also go into the bathroom and splash some water on your face. Take deep breaths for six seconds. It is important to always breathe. If you’re not on a flight and are anxious about travel, you can take a hot shower or hold onto an ice cube. You should always take the steps to alleviate your anxiety.
Another thing you can do when you’re nervous about travel is to meditate. While most people prefer to meditate in a quiet environment, you can do it anywhere. Allowing your mind wherever it goes and bringing yourself back to the present moment may seem terrifying when you're anxious, but if you do it you will feel much better afterward. Meditation is, of course, a practice. You should meditate often if you struggle with anxiety in your daily life, but it can be particularly helpful when you are traveling and feeling anxious about it.
Use a Remedy
If you can’t distract yourself and acknowledging your phobia isn’t enough, you can use another remedy to calm your fears, whether it’s natural or not. Some doctors will prescribe medications like anti-anxiety lorazepam. While the medication might have side effects, you can use CBD drops. CBD helps anxiety quite a bit without the high you get from smoking cannabis. Another option is to simply have a few drinks. This isn’t necessarily a long-term way to get rid of your flight or travel anxiety, but it can sure help alleviate tension and nervous feelings in the moment.
For some people, flying is nerve-wracking and traveling during COVID-19 even more so. If you are traveling soon and need to deal with your anxieties surrounding it, prepare ahead of time. Start by getting your head in the right place. Traveling during the pandemic has so much to do with making yourself feel comfortable. You can only do your best. Bring what you need, whether it’s masks, CBD, hand sanitizer, or a good book. Still these tips and more can help you overcome your anxiety when you’re traveling.