Call it what you like: adventure, vacation, getaway — but these words all mean the same thing, and it’s safe to say we are all craving it after the last two years. But whether you’re traveling by car, plane, or boat, preparing for vacation is often stressful. Perhaps that’s why “I need a vacation from my vacation” is a popular phrase.
So how can you leave your worries “at home” the next time you set off? Below are a few quick tips for conquering pre-travel anxiety so you start your vacation with a clear mind and enjoy it to the fullest.
Take a photo.
Do you ever leave your house for the airport and enter a worry spiral of “what ifs?” ‘What if I forgot my passport? What if I didn’t lock the door? What if I left the oven on? If you answered yes to any (or all) of these questions, you’re not alone.
A simple trick for resolving the latter and putting your mind at peace when you worry about the oven is to take a photo of it before leaving home. A simple screenshot of your oven with its knobs and settings fixed at “off” will enable you to enjoy your time away without twisting your stomach into knots.
Phone a friend.
It’s always helpful to know there’s someone you trust watching over your home when leaving for any period of time. A friend or trusted neighbor can collect your mail, care for your pets, and send check-in texts every few days to set your mind at ease.
Acknowledge the stress.
Vacation anxiety is a real, valid feeling that is typically sparked by a combination of excitement and anticipation. By this definition, it’s easy to see why vacation and travel, which are generally things that make us happy, can cause severe stress. Acknowledging that stress is a key part of letting it go.
Famed psychologist Jeffrey Schwartz created an intervention technique that, though originally created for those with OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), is now widely used to manage anxiety. The Four Rs technique — Relabel, Reframe, Refocus, Revalue — is a way of slowing down your brain and inviting calm, grounded thinking back in.
Ask yourself why you’re nervous, and pay attention to how your mind and body answer. Greet your fears with “hello,” and dismiss them with a deep breath and a calm “goodbye.” As goofy as this may sound, it’s often enough to bring you back to the present and remind you of the positive feelings you have about your impending getaway. After all, you deserve to enjoy your experience fully, which means being in the moment and completely carefree.