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Picture_26I just got back from a trip to visit family. I’m exhausted; like let me crawl into bed for the next week to recuperate exhausted. For some people traveling is really difficult. I think especially so for people that struggle with mental illness. But, not only is it possible it can be enjoyable.

Do some planning.

Traveling is ALWAYS easier when planning is involved. This often looks like packing lists, picking where you want to sit on the air plane or pre-planning stops for a long car ride. Questions to ask yourself when you are in the planning stages are:

  • Where am I going?
  • What will I be doing?
  • Who will I be with?
  • What will I need?
  • What do I want?

Mentally prepare.

Mental preparation is JUST as important as physical preparation for a trip or vacation. This is a time when your schedule and routine is going to be disrupted, you are going to be out of your normal living situation, you might not have as much time to yourself or have all of your comforts and belongings with you. So a big part of mentally preparing for a trip is acknowledging those realities (or any of the realties you’ll be facing during the time) and mentally brace yourself for them, accept them and start to come up with ideas and ways to compensate and cope with them.

Pack comforts.

One way to compensate and cope is to pack comforts (now, I don’t mean everything you love or your entire bedroom that’s not feasible) but start with clothes that are both comfortable and you feel good in. Pack your favorite flavor of chewing gum and even your favorite lotion. Just because you’re away from your home docent mean you have to be away from everything that makes you calm and comfortable.

Prepare for returning from your trip.

One of the worst things about traveling is when you have a list of things to return to the day you get back when all you want to do is rest.  Do your best to accomplish as much as you can BEFORE your trip and reserve a day or two from rest and recuperation from the traveling and to get yourself back in order.

Go easy on yourself.

Being away is a perfect time to practice being flexible. (which isn’t easy) Remind yourself that is’t okay to feel ups and down and that you’re doing the best you can. Take time for yourself and let others know when you need space.

Allow yourself to have fun.

Do something fun everyday and experience something you can’t experience at home. Give meaning to your trip and write down the memories or take pictures! You’ll be glad you did!

My name is Erin and This is Where I Stand.