What To Pack For A Trip When You Have Social Anxiety
I find that it’s very hard to for me to be comfortable on trips because I suffer from social anxiety. It’s difficult to get comfortable on an airplane or if I’m sharing a hotel room. I always make sure to carry these items in my suitcase to make traveling a little bit easier on myself:
Item #1: Mint candy or mint gum
A lot of the time, anxiety attacks involve stomach aches, so bringing a minty flavored candy or gum will help to soothe your stomach. In addition, it’s nice being able to chew on something while giving you a way to fidget discretely.
Item #2: A good book
Everyone has a different taste in books. However, bringing something that’s going to keep your attention for the duration of the flight is key. Right now, I’m really into a book called “Walking in Daniel’s Shoes” by Tom Mauser. I’m sure the remaining 200 pages will be enough to distract me from the fact that there are a ton of people on the airplane with me. You can also pack another book in your suitcase. I have chosen “Helter Skelter” by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry, and it will be a perfect read for my trip to Los Angeles.
Item #3: A large music library
Music is a very soothing tool when you’re anxious. Music taste will vary from person to person, but a familiar voice will be of help.
Item #4: Your favorite kind of relaxing tea
My counselor suggested that I drink tea to relax and she was right. Many brands of tea have calming versions which contain products that are soothing and easy to obtain. You can ask for a cup of hot water on the plane or bring a thermos full of hot water in the car. Either way, you’re good to go. Beware of caffeine – it raises blood pressure!
Item #5 Comfortable clothes
It’s very important to be as comfortable as possible when you’re in an uncomfortable situation. I am traveling to a place that’s much warmer than the one that I live in, but I will be bringing a sweatshirt because my favorite sweat-shirt is soft and cuddly. The hood helps me feel like I’m a little bit protected. These extra levels of comfort will be essential.
Item #6: A fully charged cell phone and at least one charger
It’s good to make sure your cell phone is fully charged and you have at least one charger on you at all times. This will be a helpful distraction if you need one, and more importantly, you can be sure to reach someone for comfort. Always remember to follow the pilot’s instructions in regards to using electronics.
Item #7: Paper and a pen
Paper and a pen will give you the ability to vent your thoughts and feelings if necessary, quietly and discreetly. A big portion of dealing with my anxiety is being sure I don’t make a scene, as I find it kind of embarrassing when people find out.
Item #8: Something reminiscent of your happy place
I bring pictures of my pets when I go to new places because they make me feel happy and safe. I believe it’s good to have a link to your happy place when you’re in a strange place.