How To Maintain Your Mental Health While Traveling

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Marleny Hucks
Marlene (or Marleny as she is known in Spanish) is a mentor, teacher, cross-cultural trainer, storyteller, writer, and for those who have been under her leadership or simply sat across the table from her, she is a mirror of destiny. Her love of word and image were formed early on by one of her heroes, Dr. Seuss. If you asked those who know her well, they would describe her a compassionate, funny, wise, curious, honest, real, strong, sensitive and totally human which comes out as she teaches and writes. She sees all of life, even the most mundane, through faith and believes that who we become as we live this side of the veil is what matters not the journey itself or our circumstances. Marleny Hucks has spent her life crossing bridges. She comes from a diverse background of ministry roles and contexts as well as has transitioned in and out of the business world. Having lived outside the country as well as traveled extensively she has a fascination with culture causes her to live her life within a global mosaic no matter where her feet are planted. Marlene currently lives in South Carolina with her husband David, who owns a news company but who she says is a “crime fighter”, bringing light into darkness in their systems of their city. Marleny currently works as a content management specialist covering Myrtle Beach News for MyrtleBeachSC News.

Traveling has many benefits worth considering. You can take a break from your regular schedule to destress. Likewise, you get to learn about diverse cultures and meet new people. It’s also beneficial for your overall wellness. Statistics indicate that 7 in 10 Americans plan to travel in 2022, crediting its benefits. Despite these, you don’t want to ignore your mental health while traveling if you have been struggling with it. So, are you planning to travel soon? If yes, here’s how you can stay on top of your mental wellbeing. 

  1. Exercise regularly  

Admittedly, you can lose sight of exercising when traveling. However, exercise can be beneficial for your mental health. Although traveling should help you destress, you can easily accumulate stress as you navigate your destination city. Fortunately, exercise prompts your body to produce endorphins, which elevates your mood. Likewise, certain workouts require meditation, encouraging you to release negative emotions, focus on the present and handle stressful situations. Exercise also reduces the stress hormone cortisol. 

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Seeing these benefits, you want to include exercise in your travel itinerary if you haven’t already. Running or jogging is effective for clearing your mind and calming your nerves, so feel free to consider these. Some find that to practice mindfulness is great while traveling as it is something that can be done anywhere without any gear. Pilates also focuses on relaxation and breathing exercises and enhancing sleep, so keep this in mind. Other exercises worth considering are yoga, HIIT, swimming, etc. 

  1. Spend time in nature 

Spending time in nature has many benefits worth considering. According to the APA, being in areas with lots of greenery can improve your cognitive function. Likewise, sitting or walking in natural light triggers your body to release enough melatonin for a good night’s sleep. Nature can also help you practice mindfulness and gratitude while getting your daily dose of vitamin D. Walking in nature can also improve your creativity, so keep this in mind. Fortunately, you can achieve this with the right strategies. You can begin by researching your destination country or city to determine if they have green areas. 

Consequently, incorporate fun activities that would encourage you to spend more time outdoors. For instance, you can go on a hiking adventure or spend the afternoon at the beach. You can also consider kayaking, horseback riding, snorkeling, ziplining, camping, etc. Watching the sunrise or sunset at serene locations can also work wonders, so feel free to consider this. 

  1. Prioritize healthy eating habits  

Admittedly, you can be tempted to splurge on various cuisines as you travel. However, unhealthy eating can be more harmful than beneficial. It can accelerate your risk of developing diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and digestive problems. But did you know that poor eating habits also affect your mental health? Regular consumption of processed or sugary foods can cause inflammation in your body and brain, triggering depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders. And mental issues can also cause you to eat unhealthy foods, creating a vicious cycle. Therefore, your best bet is to stick to healthier food options. 

How can you eat healthily while traveling? You can start by packing healthy snack options like nuts, hard-boiled eggs, string cheese, roasted chickpeas, fruit, or premade sandwiches. If possible, consider cooking your meals to have control over the ingredients. If your accommodation doesn’t permit cooking, you can consider eating at places with healthier meal options. As a tip, research the healthiest dining areas in your destination country for the best results. 

  1. Travel with your friends

You can also consider traveling with your friends. Not only will you reduce your expenses, but you’ll also stress less concerning your safety. Likewise, you can create great memories with your friends that will boost your mood when you remember them. When traveling with friends, it’s important to consider certain factors. For starters, you want to ensure that your friends are thrilled about the trip and are easy to live with. It’s also prudent to determine their schedules to choose a suitable date to travel. As a tip, plan your sleeping arrangements and travel itinerary to prevent problems that may damage your relationship. 

  1. Check-in with your loved ones 

This is especially beneficial if you’re traveling solo. Although your adventures may be exciting, you may feel homesick at some point. In this situation, communicating with your family and loved ones can give you some comfort. Fortunately, technology makes making video calls or sending texts easier, so keep this in mind. 

Indeed, traveling can be beneficial for your mental health. However, it’s not uncommon for travelers to develop travel anxiety. If you experience travel anxiety, you’ll find it helpful to leverage resources like Better Help to overcome it. 

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