If you’re feeling anxious about travelling this summer, then it’s time to give yourself a break and take a holiday reality check.
Anxiety or stress levels can rise in the lead up to long-awaited annual leave, so it is important to manage expectations of holidays and travel.
Hectic travel preparations, financial pressures, long drives, crowded airports, unfamiliar faces and places can trigger feelings of stress or worry, even in the most seasoned travellers.
Dr Stephen Carbone, Beyond Blue's Policy, Research and Evaluation Leader, reminds travellers that holidays are rarely perfect from beginning to end.
“People can experience anxiety any time they step outside their comfort zone and travel is a good example,” Dr Carbone says. “When we feel anxious, we can overestimate risks and underestimate our ability to cope with a stressful situation.
“People might be tempted to avoid these situations, but it’s better to manage risk and do the thing you’re anxious about because otherwise, you’re just missing out.”
Dr Carbone recommends travellers plan ahead, write lists, research and read about their destination before they leave home; talk about any worries with a friend; practise relaxation techniques such as slow, deep breathing and taking quiet time out.
He also encourages travellers to be rational and focused, and to realise the low probability they will be involved in a violent robbery, plane crash or act of terrorism.
“Unfortunate events that could happen anywhere feel amplified when you’re travelling because there are already many unknowns,” Dr Carbone says.
“Keep things in perspective: bad, unlucky things happen, but they don’t happen every day or to everyone.”
Want to learn more about managing anxiety? Visit www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/anxiety