the best way to plan a trip when you have anxiety

If you’re anything like me, traveling is a struggle because of your anxiety.

A lot of my issues center around being in the car, traveling anywhere far from home, and being stuck in traffic (when I say it out loud, it sounds crazy). When this is the case, how do we ever make a trip worth anything?

My first tip? Start small. My husband recently told me he booked a cruise for us to go on for my 30th birthday this summer. It was a super sweet thought, but it immediately made me panic a little inside. “How am I supposed to take a cruise when I have a hard time traveling around town?” I thought to myself.

My first step is to start small: take the kids on a small trip somewhere close. I am choosing places that are 30-40 minutes away. Once I prove to myself that I am fine on those trips, I’ll increase the distance. My prayer is that eventually I will have proven to myself that there is no sense in worrying while I travel.

My second tip is to be prepared. You may rely on medication (like myself), essential oils, music, books, breathing exercises, etc. to help you through an anxiety or panic attack. Whatever those things are, bring all of them. Show yourself that you are prepared for whatever might happen – there’s no need to worry if plans are set in place (at least in theory, right?).

Personally, I travel with an arsenal of supplies. I have a daily medication that I take for anxiety, and also an “as needed” medication. I make sure to bring that second medication with me, along with a couple of essential oils: Lavender is good for keeping me calm and helping me to regulate my breathing. Usually, I will carry that in my cup holder so that I can pick it up, take a deep breath of it as needed, and feel the calming effects pretty immediately. Peppermint is good for if I feel an upset stomach coming on. Peppermint can be applied directly to the stomach and has a nice cooling effect to it as well. Along with those, I also make sure to have some mints and chewing gum with me to keep me busy, as well as to keep my stomach calm.

Music plays a big role in keeping me in good headspace, so I make sure to set my Pandora station on something encouraging and relaxing. I prefer the Lauren Daigle station: it’s a good mix of slow songs that help with keeping my breathing slow, and worship music that helps me to focus on the One who is in control of everything I might be temped to worry about.

Lastly, my third tip is to take the leap. Personally, it’s hard for me to just jump into anything (ask my husband). I want to think about it, process it, mull it over for a while longer, and then act. Sometimes, though, it can be more effective for your long-term goal to just act. Don’t let your fears hold you back! Remind yourself how prepared you are, and that you’ve taken baby steps to get you to where you are now. You can do it! You are strong, you are a problem solver – anything that comes your way, you will figure out how to handle it! We don’t have to have all the answers beforehand. Trust me, I’m telling this to you as much as I’m telling it to myself.

Let’s take that cruise! Let’s go on that road trip. Let’s do that thing that we’ve always wanted to do. Let’s prove to ourselves and to each other that we are bigger than our anxiety. Nothing can hold us back now.

If you or someone you know struggles with anxiety, check out my Etsy shop!

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