Travelling strategies! Everyone can benefit whether mental illness is part of the situation or not. If you're not stressed when you leave, many are stressed by the time they arrive.
The first time I discovered that there was a better way for me to travel was in the year 2000. My husband and two of my step children made the trip from Ontario to Florida in a minivan. My husband and 16 year old son shared the front seat and navigated and enjoyed each other's company. My 14 year old stepdaughter took the middle seat (this was when minivans had bench seats), made herself a nest and read and listened to music all the way. I took that rear seat, also a bench and spent much of the trip lying down (which spared my back), reading and listening to music. As long as I had my headphones on, no one bothered me. Oh there were still a lot of things about the trip that were challenging for this bipolar introvert, but at least the car time was as free of stress as I had ever experienced. For the first time I discovered 'travelling strategies', ways that I could alter travelling to minimize stress.
The parents of the little girl in this picture planned well. Understanding that travelling with children can be stressful for the whole family and they have taken preventative measures to ensure some hope of contentment.
This time I am going to tell you about the travelling strategies that I put in place to try and make travelling the least stressful possible for my old bipolar brain.
Here we go.
1. Backseat: I spend most of my time in the backseat, lying down. There are two reasons for that. The first reason is that I have a back problem and too much sitting brings on a lot of pain. Secondly, being alone in the back seat gives me the illusion of 'being alone'. For this introvert that is some comfort. There's a third reason for spending time lying down in the back seat and that is it prevents me from getting on my husband's nerves (I am also a nervous traveller).Oh, and one more thing: lying down gets me out of seeing the constantly moving traffic and scenery around me which I find unsettling, apparently a common bipolar thing.
2. Music: My MP3 player is full of my favourite music. This transports me to a happy place at least for awhile. It gives me some sort of escape from the stress of travelling.
3. Same accomodation: If I have to stay in a hotel, and I am taking a trip I have taken before, I try to find a hotel I like and then use the same one every time. And for our destination accomodation, the same place is very helpful. This way I don't have to get my sensitive brain around a new space, possibly a place that I don't like and therefore would make me anxious.
4. Food: I need to eat regularly and well. Junk food is not good when I am comfy and cozy at home, but it is even worse on the road. So I try to eat good stuff. Snacks in the car include nuts and fruit.
5. My morning walk: even when I stay at a hotel I figure out a morning walk for when I wake up. It is a good way for me to start the day before I crunch into the car once again.
6. Car breaks: I stop for regular breaks, at least every two hours. I walk, alone, for about ten minutes.
7. Travel time: I try, but seldom succeed in keeping the travel time short. There is always that tempation "If we just travel for an extra hour we won't have to go so far tomorrow." Or "If we can cram a three day trip into two days we can save money on a hotel". But shortening the days can shorten the anxiety.
These travelling strategies may not work for you. You probably have your own unique needs. But if travelling is hard for you, maybe these ideas of mine will encourage you to try some specific things for yourself.
I hope you have learned something besides "I would never want to travel anywhere with Wendy".
Why do we bother traveling at all? Well, this long trip that I describe gets us to Myrtle Beach every winter. We stay for three months and once we get there I am just fine. We get the same place every time and it doesn't take me long to settle in and put my 'home' strategies back in place.
Coping with depression without changing your lifestyle is difficult. And recovering from depression without making lifestyle changes is impossible. Changes must be made. These changes can have more of an impact on your depression recovery than any medication or therapy. It takes awhile to figure out what works for you but it is worth it.
And that is whey I know that "My Strategies are Working". When I don't do them I feel terrible.
WHAT ABOUT YOU? How are you feeling today? Have you made lifestyle changes to accomodate depression? Do you have any travelling strategies you would like to share?
I am so glad you dropped by Depression Getaway today. THERE IS HOPE FOR DEPRESSION.
Don't give up, I'm praying for you, right now.
You know the person who is reading this right now. You created them and you love them. Please help them create a road to recovery from depression with your help. Show them big and little ways that they can alter their personal lives to bring further healing.