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Here are some tips for travelling alone when you suffer with anxiety

Here are some tips for travelling alone when you suffer with anxiety

Charlie Mathers visited Brussels for Belgium Pride

Two weeks ago, the thought of travelling alone would give me an anxiety attack.

The last few weeks haven’t been the greatest in terms of my mental health. I was anxious all the time and barely made any effort to see friends.

My depression meant my personality was far more muted than normal, and I wasn’t sleeping much at night either.

And the entire time, I could not stop thinking about the four days I would be spending with complete strangers in Brussels.

On top of that, I had never visited Belgium before and my knowledge of the French language was minimum.

I worried about whether or not I would be able to cope, understandably.

Little did I know that travelling alone and spending four days with strangers would be the best thing for my mental state.

The brief trip gave me a moment to reset my brain completely. And boy, I needed that.

I would recommend a break away to anyone who is stuck in a rut – Even if the thought of not seeing anyone you know stresses you out.

For while you’re on your break, here are some tips for travelling alone when you suffer with anxiety and depression.

The Belgium Pride main stage
The Belgium Pride main stage | Photo: GSN

1  Don’t forget your medication

This is always an important point.

Forgetting your medication when you’re at home is bad. It’s even worse if you’re in a foreign surrounding.

Do not forget to take your medication, and also remember to take it on time.

2  Do not pressure yourself into socializing

When I’m anxious, I stress myself out more by thinking about the fact that I appear anxious to everyone I know.

I push myself to live up to my own socializing standard.

But when you’re travelling alone or with some strangers, there is no level of socializing they see as normal for you.

So feel free to remain a bit quiet while you adjust to your new surroundings.

3  You’re allowed to stay in

There’s a pressure to constantly go out and see sights when you’re travelling. But don’t feel like you have to if you don’t want to!

Just like when you’re at home, sometimes all you need is a moment to sit alone in your room and read/watch some TV.

It’s okay to do that!

4  Know your limits

Similarly to exploring every day, there’s a common feeling that when you’re on holiday you have to go out to bars and clubs every night.

That can be fun and if you’re feeling up to it, then go for it!

Take care of yourself though. You should always know your limits and that’s even more important when you’re abroad.

Getting drunk in bars in your hometown can be okay because you know your way home. That might not apply when you’re abroad.

I only had drinks when I felt completely safe and knew that I 100% was going to be able to get back to my hotel.

5  Feel free to reach out

Don’t be scared of checking in with people back home.

A little chat with a friend from home can really be an extra boost, and a reminder of how good the break away will be for you.

Grand-Place in Brussels, Belgium
Grand-Place in Brussels | Photo: GSN

6  Turn your phone off

We all want that perfectly holiday snap.

But there’s nothing like turning your phone off and just enjoying the experience.

There are countless articles online telling people that switching your phone off and going offline is good for your mental wellbeing.

The break from constant notifications and the need to make sure you post a picture on every platform is lifting a weight off your shoulders.

I forced myself to stay off my phone as much as possible. While it was annoying at first, I soon realized that it was actually a blessing in disguise.

While my companions circled museums and buildings to take pictures of every angle, I was able to sit back and take the sights in.

7  Open yourself up

Perhaps the best part of a holiday is trying new foods and seeing new sights.

You might find something you really like, and you’ll never know unless you give yourself the chance to try it.

Before I went away, my anxiety and depression was awful. The process of trying new things, meeting new people and seeing new sights helped me do a much needed mental reset!

It was scary opening myself up and meant I had to force myself through tons of mental barriers. And I couldn’t be more thankful that I made myself do everything I did.

8  Take a reminder from home

A reminder of home while everything else around you is new can really help keep you grounded.

It doesn’t even need to be something big!

I used the nail polish my flatmate uses all the time before I left for the trip.

Thanks to that, I still felt like I had her with me. That small piece of familiarity really helped me get by.

9  Rest up

Sleep is always important, and especially so when you’re on the move.

Make sure you get as many hours as you can. You can even treat yourself to a lie in – You’re on holiday so why not!

Being well rested can make the world of difference to your mental state.

Now is the perfect time to catch up on all that sleep debt.

10  Check-in with yourself

The last thing you want to happen is that your trip finishes and you get home, and realize that you hadn’t fully appreciated how good you felt while away.

When you have a spare moment, check in with yourself to see how you’re feeling.

I was stood in a rooftop bar when it just dawned on me that there wasn’t a single anxious thought in the back of my mind.

Knowing that I felt good meant I was able to enjoy the rest of the trip even more!