How to Cope with Depression When You're Travelling
One of the things you'll probably notice when you travel is that your highs are high and your lows are oh-so-low.
Travel changes you. It highlights parts of your personality that make you feel a little icky (I have a BIG mouth) and makes you appreciate the small things that make you happy (proper tea). Alongside amazing experiences you will undoubtedly have, there will be lows. And when those lows hit you, they hit you harder than the season finale of Parks & Rec.
Accepting that you'll run into these lows is probably the best thing you can do to prepare yourself. I don't say this to turn you off from travel, or to make out like it's so much harder than it is. I mean, if I can do it, anyone can!
It's completely normal to have anxiety before, during and even afterwards when you come home and I think that even the most laid-back person gets stressed out and exhausted by the inevitable ups and downs.
But what about when it's a little bit worse than that? What about the times when you're a million miles from home. It's sunny, your view is of the Taj Mahal or a beautiful beach and you just feel meh.
Have you ever had one of those moments when you absolutely can't appreciate where you are, and can't seem to get into the present? All you can think is that you are so tired....and you just want to curl up and enjoy Netflix. Incidentally, if you do wanna do that - check out my post on how to watch Netflix abroad ;)
If you have had one of these moments, know this. It will pass. I promise. It helps to have some coping strategies in place to keep your sanity intact.
These are mine.
Be kind to yourself. Don't compare yourself to anyone else.
If you don't wanna go out in the sunshine, or go on that hike, or eat that authentic Indian curry then don't. Making the most of every day doesn't mean subscribing to someone else's schedule or idea of how you should be travelling. I mean, obviously don't spend your entire 3 months hiding in air con spooning with a Big Mac, but give yourself a break. Never listen to the people telling over-using the word 'should'. Those people suck.
When I feel crappy, I know that there are a few things that will always cheer me up. Having a massage at my fave spa (which is to say, shack with candles), a dreamy night at my favourite restaurant and honestly, a good old cry!
A nice self-indulgent cry is one of the most underrated coping strategies. It's even better when you try to channel a celebrity while doing it....plaster mascara on (not waterproof obvs) so that you get panda eyes, that kind of thing.
Surround yourself with people that make you happy.
This seems super obvious but when you're travelling, your relationships become pretty transient and your exchanges can often be exclusively small talk. I hate small talk. I also hate big groups.
So when I'm feeling blue, I avoid people who bring the drama. I stick with people who make me feel happy. That should actually be a rule for life anyway, but sometimes you need to hang out with people you don't normally -- and that's cool, but if they don't make you happy? Avoid them for a bit ;)
Plan your next move.
I had a meh few weeks recently (yeah, mine last a little longer than some!) and one of the things that I found really helped was looking to the future and planning my next moves. Just giving myself that permission and reminding myself that I have the freedom to move wherever I want, helped,
What do you think? What are your coping strategies?