Travelling In The Times Of A Pandemic

Travelling with anxiety is something we never took in account. Read on to know more!
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For a lot of people travelling was a way of life, a getaway or a break from their monotony. Because of the pandemic all lives have come to a halt. All vacation plans have been cancelled and put on hold. The coronavirus outbreak has brought the world to a halt, given the nature a new lease of life and a new world for us to step into.

But when we do step out, it’s going to be a different world altogether. Bubbles between countries have started for the safe passage of travellers. The volume of travellers has decreased due to the increase of risk of catching the infection. Large scale travelling across the globe doesn’t seem to be a possibility until a vaccine is available to the general public. All of these factors may play a huge role for your mental wellbeing and conditioning. Some perspire, some have palpitations, everyone has a different way to deal with it. Anxiety can trigger your flight-or-fight stress response and release a flood of chemicals and hormones, like adrenaline, into your system. In the short term, this increases your pulse and breathing rate, so your brain can get more oxygen. Eventually, we’ll have to get used to the new world and adapt.

Things may not be the same soon; certain alternatives will be taken but does that guarantee a 100% safety? Travelling in these unprecedented times is extremely difficult and an anxious process for all of us. A lot of us are afraid of being stigmatized or being judged for how we deal with stress. Different people have different coping mechanisms. Something that holds us back from bringing it up. What has happened is that a lot of awareness has been raised about mental health, but has enough discussion happened over the problem?

While anxiety symptoms are different for everyone, if your anxiety relates to travel, when you travel or think about traveling you may experience: 

  • rapid heart rate, chest pain, or difficulty breathing 
  • nausea or diarrhea 
  • restlessness and agitation 
  • decreased concentration or trouble focusing 
  • trouble sleeping or insomnia 

If these symptoms become overwhelming enough, they can trigger a panic attack. 

A patient of depression or anxiety is going to have the worst time during this outbreak. Imagine having breaks of anxiety during your regular travels and then having an attack amidst the whole fiasco of quarantining yourself. According to a survey, 49 percent of travelers agreed that the baggage collection was the most stressful part, around 63 percent of the travelers worry over getting stuck in traffic on the way to the airport and thus missing their flights. 61 percent of the people also worried over about losing their baggage! People in general may try to overcome these bouts of anxiety by shopping and heading to the bar at the airport. But what about people with clinical issues?  

What causes anxiety about travel? 

Anxiety while travelling can be caused due to a lot of factors. Negative associations are one the factors that may play a huge role. For example, people in a car accident may feel anxious when they start driving again. Or for the sake of better understanding, when a child is learning to ride a bicycle and falls off the first time, he will be afraid to ride it again. That is if the child negatively associates himself while falling off the bicycle, which could be an injury and hurt caused.  

These similar experiences can further be considered with coronavirus still lounging around us. We may not have to travel unless necessary, and we must take the factors and effects of travelling in such times. Refrain from travelling in such times, but if you must here is what you can do in order to stop your flare up.  

  • Identify your triggers: Anxiety triggers are things that can lead to an increase in your anxiety symptoms. In such unprecedented times, it can be anything related to sanitizing your hands before catching a flight, or a seat that you might be assigned to.  Identify your trigger beforehand and make sure you have a solution with you regarding the same. Carry sanitizing wipes or a hand sanitizer if you want to make sure your seat has been disinfected or not.  
  • Plan for certain scenarios: Be prepared for the ‘what ifs’ that you might have on the way. Route the journey. You should know what the nearest hospital or Emergency Room is. Your emergency contact number should be handy and easily accessible. By preparing for scenarios like these ahead of time, you’ll see that most problems have a solution, even while traveling. 
  • Bring plenty of distractions: Get yourself a book, video games, a podcast to listen to. Anything to keep you entertained and distracted from your surroundings. Whatever your distraction is, consider bringing it along for the ride. Enjoyable distractions can help keep stave off negative thoughts and give you something positive to focus on instead. 
  • Practice relaxation: It is very important for you to believe that your mind is the most powerful aspect of your body. It is true, what the mind can conceive it can achieve. Find out exercises that help you best to relax. Meditations techniques, counting backwards, whatever helps you! Figure it out, and make sure you practice and inculcate it when needed.  
  • Travel with friends: If you have anxiety about traveling alone, bring a travel buddy. If you choose to travel with someone else, there are plenty of partner or group activities to enjoy. You might find yourself being more open and adventurous around someone comfortable. By the end of the trip, you may have even made a few new friends to travel with. 
Image Source: File

How to do away with anxiety?  

Communication and expressing your feelings can be very helpful, whatever capacity you can. Knowing there’s a certain someone you can trust and speak to is a great way to deal with anxiety. If you have travel anxiety, you may find yourself unable to participate in or enjoy traveling. Before a trip, mindful preparation can help reduce your negative emotions about traveling. During the trip, mindfulness, distractions, and even medication are all options for reducing travel anxiety. 

 We’ve had plenty of awareness drives that speak about mental and what the need of the moment is discussion! If you know people who are traveling in these mad times, offer them help in whatever capacity as you can. Listen, discuss and most importantly; understand.  

Read more: 15 Most Inspiring Films of All Time

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