If you deal with anxiety, you are not alone. Over 40 million Americans suffer from some form of anxiety. Many of these people find it difficult to travel to their local grocery store, let alone another country. I am one of those people.
It all started after I got infected from a basic procedure. One minute I was healthy; the next I was fighting for my life. The experience left me with physical and mental scars, including anxiety.
When the pandemic hit, I, like millions of others, found myself holed up at home in isolation, worried about getting sick again. I was desperate to get out and enjoy the world but paralyzed by fear for almost 3 years.
In the end, the main things that got me out of my cave were amazing friends, a great therapist, and a great desire to travel. But it has not been easy. I’ve had panic attacks on airplanes and sometimes I feel like I’m the only person still wearing a mask everywhere I go.
Now that I’m back traveling again, I’ve come across a handful of travel gear and wellness products that help me stay cool on planes, in hotel rooms, and elsewhere on my trip.
Let’s take a look at my favorite travel products and how they help ease my travel anxiety. While none of this is medical advice, these products can also help improve your travel experience.
Security concerns remain one of the main factors preventing people from traveling. Fortunately, the sisters at She’s Birdie have worked hard to keep people safe by creating The Birdie and The Birdie+.
These small devices clip onto your purse, backpack, belt, etc. If you feel like you’re being followed or in a scary situation, you simply pull the device, disconnecting the base from the lock, and a loud alarm goes off with a strobe light to attract attention.
The company also offers Birdie+, which is a more advanced version with a GPS tracker that can notify authorities of your location if you’re based in the US. It’s a simple and effective way to give you that bit of confidence so you can enjoy your days (and nights) out again
If you’re concerned about thrombosis, especially on long-haul flights, it’s a good idea to wear compression stockings. As a plus size woman, I’ve been worried because I want to wear them but have never found them in my size – until now. Plus size store Lane Bryant has created these compression socks in multiple colors so you can match them with your outfit. Now I can be stylish and confident while flying, which is a huge relief.
Being prepared is a way to feel in control of situations that are out of your control. That’s why I like to travel with a KeepGoing First Aid Kit.
The company started when parents took their two young children on a trip and quickly realized that most children’s first aid kits were not properly equipped with what they needed. On the other hand, they created a more well-thought-out bag with cartoon bandages and a wide selection of quirky cases.
These first aid kits are perfect for calming kids and adults alike because they make “scary” items seem a little more fun. I know I feel less anxious when I see a case covered in dinosaurs or rainbows than I do making medical supplies. If you’re looking for something a little more discreet or elegant, they also have cases or models in solid colors.
They also come in different sizes to suit your travel needs. As I’m traveling alone, I’m taking the smaller version with me, which is the size of my hand and holds over 60 items. Meanwhile, larger bags can hold up to 270 pieces.
One thing that brings me out of a panic attack is smelling something strong and pungent. In my experience, this distracts my brain and takes the worry away from my anxiety trigger.
I like to use Tiger Balm red pomade for this. Its menthol scent is so strong that it immediately takes over my brain. It’s small and fits easily in my bag. But even better, the scent reminds me of my mother taking care of me when I was sick. It gives me that instant “everything’s going to be okay” feeling that comes in handy at the moment.
I have multiple Spotify playlists that help keep me calm in various scenarios. For example, I have playlists of classical music that I listen to when I’m in a stressful situation. I have Disney playlists for when I need to go to my “happy place”.
There are meditation playlists that allow me to dig deeper and heal when I have a quiet moment of power. And I have hard rock playlists to help when the time is right. No matter my mood and whatever my anxiety level, I have a playlist to help.
I have had a lot of panic attacks and they are not fun. But I managed to get a lot of them under control early on, thanks to the Fitbit Luxe. Now, when my heart starts racing, I just look at my Fitbit and can clearly check my heart rate. It’s a great tool that acts as a voice of reason. When my brain is acting like Chicken Little, telling me, “The sky is falling,” my Fitbit is there to say, “Girl, you’re not even up to a brisk walk.”
It’s been the perfect stop for anxiety meltdowns for years, and I’m so thankful for it. I never leave home without it. Oh yeah, and it makes a nice watch, too.
When you’re traveling and anxiety starts to strike, it’s comforting to know you can retreat to your hotel room. However, sometimes hotel rooms can feel very cold and soulless, which can make the situation worse. This is why I like to carry a Diptyque travel size candle when I go abroad.
These all-natural French candles smell divine and can really help transport you to a happy place. When I’m stressed, I like to turn off all the harsh LED lights, light my favorite Mimosa candle, and meditate or take a long hot shower.
Fun fact: When you’re stressed, your body releases the hormone cortisol. It is the fight or flight hormone that is used to help us flee from danger, like a sulking lion.
Today, we usually don’t have the luxury or desire to run a marathon when we’re stressed. The problem is when we don’t burn off that burst of energy, it gets stored as fat mostly in the belly, and that’s not good for our mental or physical health.
This is where Mind Panda Stress Balls come in handy. They allow you to squeeze your hands as hard as possible without any pain, releasing some excess energy and tension in the process. It may sound silly, but I have found it very effective.
Many people spend a lot of time worrying about losing their phone battery and the possibility of missing important calls or being stranded alone in an unfamiliar place with no way to call an Uber or get help. There is a simple solution to instantly put your mind at ease. It is the Charmast portable phone charger.
It was important to me to find something small and light that wouldn’t add to my already heavy bag. This portable charger is the size and weight of a lipstick tube, so you barely notice it’s there. Just pop it into the bottom of your phone and away you go. So take all the photos you want, make all those videos, enjoy your ride and never worry about your battery running out of juice again.
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