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What are your favorite strategies for traveling with anxiety and insomnia? I'm bringing some comfort items with me like my favorite pillow and blanket. But I still get nervous because I'll be traveling with a friend who doesn't have anxiety herself and I worry about things like having a panic attack in front of her, or just feeling overwhelmed and needing my own space. Even if nothing is wrong at the moment, I still don't like the disruptions caused by travel (having to stay in a new place, eating in restaurants, being in big crowded spaces, having places I need to go to at certain times and feeling rushed/hurried).

    • KitKat1450


      Relate so much to this! I bring comfort items too. This may not be super helpful in your case- I usually avoid travel or outings that drastically increase my anxiety unless I’m with people that know me and how to help if I get too anxious. Just the managing myself is a lot so I try to avoid adding more stress to the situation because it has gone badly enough times in the past. If it’s unavoidable or something I really want to do, I usually talk to the person before, when I’m calm, and attempt to teach them how to help me or my red flags/warning signs, tell them I may need space and explain what that means for me. If possible I plan stuff that grounds me- car rides, being outdoors in calm environment, exercise, location of where staying. Also when it’s possible if I’m doing something I know increases my anxiety, like eating at a restaurant, I’ll ask if everyone’s ok with eating outside (way calmer outside than inside), or if I can sit in certain seat, or booth versus a chair. For me, little adjustments reduce my anxiety and if I can string enough together, the likelihood of me enjoying whatever it is is greater. Sometimes that’s a lot of work so kind of have to gauge if I’m up for that or not. If I’m not, I usually don’t go or let whoever know that I may need to cancel or adjust ahead of time so it’s not as impactful for them. And if I’m with people that are similar it’s soooooo much easier and less work. Planning ahead helps. Like with my family their timing is way different than mine so I ask a lot of questions before so that I’m not actually rushed. I call them “check points”. Like if we have dinner reservation for 7, that means leave hotel what time, get to car what time, shower what time, start getting ready, eat snack so I don’t get hangry at what time in case something goes wrong. My family thinks I’m a bit much but then I’m the one that’s fine when things go wrong cause I planned ahead and got snacks and chilling and they’re freaking out, behind schedule, and hangry. Shit normally goes wrong with my fam lol so whenever I travel with them my anxiety is like thru the roof until I plan and do my things and manageable. They don’t necessarily help if I am in a mood but they don’t like make it worse that often anymore since we’ve talked about it a lot. Aside from that, if I know I’m traveling, I plan to peak my energy on the trip- not scheduling much before or after so I can build up energy before and recover after, if that’s possible. Overall I just try to remind myself that something that most people enjoy, it takes work for me to so I’ve accepted it and do my best to work with it rather than try to pretend I’m fine. Because me pretending too long and constantly being anxious and on edge can lead to a blow up and that is really what I attempt to avoid. I would open the conversation with your friend and tell them how you’re feeling about traveling and you may find that you have some similarities and be able to find some common ground- things that lower your anxiety and help you manage and things they enjoy, and be able to collectively avoid some things that neither of you actually want to do or really have to. Example- going to a medium because that’s a “touristy” thing to do but in reality neither of you want to. Or one of you likes to drive and the other likes to ride shotgun. Or compromise on getting somewhere at a certain time- little late for your liking but little early for theirs. From your post, it sounds like you’re trying to find things to help you prepare to manage and that’s more power to you. Keep searching and you’ll find what does and doesn’t work and if you already have things helping you manage, you can adapt more efficiently. Hope your trip goes well!

☝ This content is generated by our users and it is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision

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Some strategies for traveling with anxiety and insomnia include bringing familiar items such as your favorite jacket, PJ pants, music, shows/movies, games on your phone, snacks, and a travel size bottle of a lotion that smells good to you. You can also bring fidget toys or a comfort stuffed animal. Planning everything out in advance, including what types of stores/eateries are near your terminals during layovers, can help ease anxiety. Some people find it helpful to take sleep aids when they're not in their own bed. Others use prescription medication like clonazepam/klonopin for plane rides. Noise cancelling headphones can be useful for blocking out the noise of crowded spaces. Distractions like books, video games, or podcasts can also be helpful.

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