Travel anxiety – four tips to help ease travel anxiety
Mental health encompasses our emotional, psychological and social well-being, and can have an unfathomable impact not only on your daily life, but also on your physical health. Poor mental health can be debilitating, as stress, anxiety, and countless other problems it can bring, can cause even what might be considered the smallest of things, the most daunting tasks.
The Mental Health and Wellbeing England Survey found that one in six people aged 16 and over have symptoms of common mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety.
Traveling with these anxieties can make the whole trip much more difficult than it usually would be. But after three lockdowns and endless restrictions compounded by Covid in Britain forcing the nation into reclusion, many are understandably feeling overwhelmed now that the restrictions have been lifted.
eDreams carried out a survey to research the travel habits of 4,000 Europeans earlier this year and found that more than a quarter of Britons (28%) had developed a fear of flying – despite not were not before.
As Mental Health Awareness Week kicks off on May 9, Express.co.uk spoke to experts to find great ways to help people with travel anxiety make traveling that much more bearable.
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Bring paper with you on your trips
Origami is the Japanese art of paper folding and, besides the fun of exploring creative possibilities, it has been shown to promote relaxation and creative thinking.
Origami Party London told Express.co.uk: “The ancient practice helps calm the brain and facilitates a calmer emotional state. As with other mindfulness practices, doing origami encourages living in the moment, helping to lessen the effects of stress or anxiety.
“Origami is a fantastic ‘gateway’ to meditation as it puts you back in your body while engaging and challenging your hands and brain.”
A simple piece of paper can provide an accessible way to introduce a meditative practice into everyday life that you can truly enjoy.
Experts from Origami Party London said: “Travel can be a stressful time, so take a step back and let off steam by grabbing a piece of paper and practicing different folds.
From Amazon to Waterstones and Etsy, you can get origami kits from a number of places that come with good papers and instructions.
Knit your way along the journey
Knitting is a particularly effective activity for calming the mind and improving mental health, as it provides improved focus and mental focus, as well as a great sense of accomplishment.
Wool Winders told Express.co.uk: “[Knitting] improves your dexterity, coordination and motor skills and improves your problem solving skills.
“In fact, a study conducted by Love Knitting found that the health benefits of knitting include lower blood pressure, distraction from chronic pain, reduction in anxiety, and slowing the onset of pain. dementia.”
“Knitting is known to promote social connection, which helps overcome the recent crisis of loneliness.”
The theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week focuses on loneliness, as many have suffered greatly from it during the pandemic.
Wool Winders continued: “During the pandemic shutdowns, many have turned to crafts and got to know other knitters – we guarantee there are already some in your social circles.
“Knitting is something calm to do amid the stress of travel, but remember to keep it simple if you’re battling distractions.
“Take an easy project without too many details or pattern instructions for your trip. You can relax and focus even more on your task!
Consider disconnecting from social media and picking up a book
Social media can be a great method to connect with people, disconnect, and be entertained. However, prolonged time spent on these apps can be detrimental to mental health.
James Middleton, fitness and online mindset trainer, said: “Time spent on social media can lead to low mood, due to constant comparison with others and resulting self-judgment. .
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On his trip, Mr Middleton said: ‘Try to limit the time you spend on social media platforms and instead engage in mindful activities such as reading a book.’
Practice mindfulness and live “in the present”
Mindfulness is an incredibly powerful tool when used in the right way.
Mr Middleton said: “We spend a lot of our lives rushing, but also reliving what happened or thinking about the future.
“But if you can practice and focus on being as present as possible and living ‘in the present’, you’ll feel more in control of what you’re doing and your thoughts.
“Learning to always bring your attention back to the present moment can dramatically improve your mood and overall happiness.”
Mental health charity Mind provides some great mindfulness tips here to help you practice.
Take a trip on the LNER Wellness Train
London North Eastern Railway (LNER) found that two-thirds of Britons (66%) think it’s important to take time out when traveling to disconnect from ‘everyday noise’ and focus on their mental health, and more than half of these Britons (53%) cite rail as the most relaxing mode of transport.
If you’re hoping to resume travel, a long train journey might be a good prescription, and if you need one with motivating activities to keep going, the LNER Wellness Train might be a good option.
The LNER Wellness Train is a service dedicated to mindfulness and well-being and offers unique experiences to explore craftsmanship, mindfulness and well-being in each wagon of the train.
Mr Middleton told Express.co.uk: “The idea behind the LNER Wellness Train is exactly that.
“We all know that traveling can be a stressful time for everyone, whether by train, plane or car. Taking time to focus on something else like origami or knitting – time-tested painkillers – can help with a smoother and more relaxing journey.”
Kate McFerran, Director of Communications at LNER, said: “Our research shows that there is a well-established link between well-being and train travel.
“Our teams often share some of the creative activities they see our customers doing, whether it’s knitting a scarf, writing, playing games on board or mindfully colouring.
“Experience shows us that there is a lot of pleasure in enjoying a trip while traveling by train.
“It’s not just about arriving at your destination, but about making the most of a relaxing environment to indulge in activities that enhance your sense of well-being.
“We hope the Wellness Train will inspire train travelers by showing them some of the activities that can be easily and conveniently done on board.”
Customers can buy tickets here, with experiences starting at £50.
Mr Middleton said: “For anyone starting their own wellness journey, remember to enjoy the process.
“Don’t focus too much on the end goal and instead focus your efforts on being one percent better each day. Small goals within reach will motivate you to keep going.