Travel can be stressful, physically, mentally and emotionally. You’re constantly moving, and being exposed to new foods and diseases, which puts stress on your body. Your mind is being exercised as well, as you plan your trip and deal with challenges as they arrive – maybe you have to speak a new language, or alter your plans at the last minute. All of these stressors will have an impact on your emotional health, which is subject to its own problems – after all, you have to interact with people, which can be tough on your emotions.
It’s important to keep your emotional health levels high while travelling, so that you and your travel companions have a good time. Maybe you get upset and cry when you’re stressed, maybe you get short-tempered, but either way it isn’t fun for anyone.
Try to keep your body and your mind healthy, and that will go a long way to keeping your emotions in order. Get enough sleep, eat a balanced diet with lots of water and not too much alcohol, and make sure to include exercise in your schedule.
Be aware of your needs
Think about the things that stress you out, and avoid them. Find something that helps you to relax, maybe listening to music or doing exercise, and do that thing when you feel stressed.
For example, we know we don’t function well on little sleep, so we don’t usually book flights that leave early in the morning. Similarly, we avoid traveling on overnight buses and trains if at all possible. If there’s no other option, Linda always has lots of tools to make herself comfortable, like earplugs, an eyemask and a blanket. And if we’re already feeling stressed, we’ll take some time out of the situation, maybe by spending some time in our room or just in the bathroom, and cut off from everything by listening to music.
People can be stressful and sometimes you need time away from them, so make sure you get it. Conversely, if you’re traveling alone you might need some time with people – head to the hostel common room or to a friendly bar for a chat.
If you’re feeling a bit low, you might need some sugar to keep you going until the next meal. A fruit juice could help, or keep some sweets in your bag.
Above all, don’t feel like you have to do everything. You don’t have to visit every museum or go out drinking every night. Sometimes a day on the beach or in the hostel is what you need to recharge your batteries and set you up for more travel.
Talk about it
If you’re travelling with others, communicate when you’re finding things difficult. Sometimes just putting it into words will help, or maybe your travel companion will have some advice that could be useful.
Travel is an awesome experience, don’t let low emotional energy ruin your trip.