Planes, Trains, & Automobiles - Self-Care Tips for Travel during Covid-19
By Andrea Schramm, MA, LPC
During this Covid-19 pandemic one of the biggest changes in our life has been the ability to just pick up and go places. Whether you prefer a jet setting to faraway places or simply getting out and about in your own neighborhood or community, restrictions, mandates, and the need to protect each other and our own health and well-being has made travel unavailable, dangerous, or inconvenient.
Whether you have plans to hit the runway, ride the rails or simply explore your local community by car, bike or on foot, here are some basic tips to get you out and about.
If you haven’t flown recently, take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with your airline’s rules and regulations on mask wearing. This information is readily available on their website. Most airlines require masks worn during the entire flight upon boarding and after exiting the plane. Terminals and shuttles may also require masks to be worn for the duration of your travel or while in the terminal. This can result in having to wear a mask for an extended period of time across the duration of your trip. Amtrak also requires masks to be worn at all times while traveling by train. Plan your trip by car and consider using an app for trip planning such as TripIt to stay informed on the road. Depending on your local neighborhood and community, mask restrictions may be lower or not at all and outdoor spaces which allow for social distancing may be a great choice for traveling away from home.
Plan for waiting or restricted access to amenities:
Bring snacks and drinks to stay hydrated while traveling. Traveling by plane or train could be more stressful during the pandemic than in past times. Restaurants can have limited access or be closed all together. Wait times may be excessive.
Managing anxiety associated with travel:
Consider comfortable and familiar clothing you will feel relaxed wearing. Bring a favorite book, magazine, and snack food. Basically, bring the comforts of home along as best you can. Your favorite stuffy can share your boarding pass and provide emotional support and soothing. Take deep breathes when you feel anxious. Stay in touch with family and friends for support. Bring your favorite playlist to soothe your nerves during long waits, long periods of time wearing your mask, and the unknown of pandemic travel.
Plan to have fun where ever you go or however you get there! Travel can be fun, exciting and bring us to restful and regenerative places and experiences. Travel is beneficial to your mental health in a number of important ways. Getting away can help you relieve the stress of daily life and let you relax your mind and experience calm. Regular get-aways can have lasting positive benefits to your mental health for weeks after you have returned home. Vacations can improve your mental power by giving your brain a rest. We can increase our empathy when we go places we have never been before and have new and different experiences.
So, feel better in a plane, on a train, or in the family car on the way to the park. With a bit of planning, travel is still a huge benefit even during a pandemic. Find your fit and pack your bags!
JENNIFER EULBERG, MA, LPC
Welcome Jennifer, our new blogger!
Jennifer is a counselor at Sandhill who specializes in depression, self-esteem, and grief & loss. Get to know Jennifer as she shares her perspectives on life, contemplates value themes, and offers gentle encouragement.
THANK YOU to Stefanie Pisarkiewicz, LPC for her blog contributions from November 2014 - February 2019!