Fern & Oak


Dealing With Stress When Travelling

Firstly, I want to say a very heartfelt thank you to everyone who has commented on my blog so far. It’s truly is a wonderful thing to know that you’re not just writing into the ether (even though, I’ve been doing that for many months now!) and that people are being inspired and enjoying what you’re writing. So, thank you. I had a really lovely start to the day, going through and responding to comments with my coffee before starting the day :-)

Today I’m going to share something that truly stresses me out right down to my very core, and how I take care of myself in that situation. And that situation is travelling. Any kind, to anywhere. It gives me the stresses.

I travel a lot for work. Once a week into London, which is two hours there/ two hours back and once every month/ couple of months to The Netherlands with other UK travel sprinkled in between depending on demand. Twice a year I travel across the pond to America. Then there’s holidays, which involve travel too, and I’ve got a lot better at taking holidays over the past couple of years.

I’m very happy to go to different places - I love visiting The Netherlands, it is a home from home to me and the excitement of being in America hasn’t dulled yet. But I really, truly, despise the act of travel itself. Despite the frequency of it, and no matter the length or means; it really really stresses me out.

There’s no particular aspect, it just roundly stresses me. It’s like travelling gathers up all of my fears and anxieties and just goes to town on making me sweat - both physically and emotionally. I used to be so scared of flying, that the first time I flew by myself I cried - aged 26 years old and actual tears - as we were taking off. (Sorry, by the way, to the two gentlemen I was sat in between. It must have been quite awkward for you both.)

As I travel a lot, I’ve implemented three things to help me deal with the stress. The stress doesn’t go away, but it does get quieter and I no longer cry on aeroplanes.

Thing 1 - All The Planning

Oh I do love a good plan! As much as I sometimes yearn to be spontaneous (and sometimes, I am!) I find that planning really de-stresses me. Depending on the length / location of the trip - let’s say minimum one night, maximum one week - I will plan everything. I have a collection of lists, from packing to places to eat at to ideas for drawings. If going abroad, I always have my flight details, hotel address, emergency contact numbers and itinerary created and kept online and in my journal without fail. It helps me forego thoughts of “what if…. [insert stressful scenario: I get lost, I lose my phone, I need help, I’m hungry etc. etc.]” and also helps my really bad short term memory.

Thing 2 - All The Stimulus

It’s very rare for me not to have at least one journal with me when I travel. Most of the time (and this is probably part of why I always have back ache!) I will have; my main journal journal (for writing, and lists, and planning), my sketchbook and my little art journal. I also have a pencil case with must have supplies and I will normally have my kindle + at least one book book. If I’ve got a long journey, I’m sure as shit not going to be stressing out about passing the time. I distract myself. I draw, read, paint (I love my Windsor & Newton watercolour set!) and if it’s a really long flight, I might bring my tablet with some videos pre-downloaded.

Thing 3 - A Bit Of Luxury

Flying sucks and long train journeys suck so I always bring with me a really nice, expensive lotion. I’m a bit of a potions and lotions witch and I love anything with a heady floral and herby scents (think patchouli and jasmine). For long journeys it makes me calm to lotion up my hands, my face, my neck in something that smells beautiful and feels luxurious. I also bring cooling eye gel (a must have as my eyes tend to suffer a lot on long journeys), lavender, rosemary and gem extract balsam (helps me sleep) and a travel stick of my favourite perfume. I might be feeling stressed, but I smell fucking amazing.

Bonus thing, which is not very healthy but sure does help, is a gin and tonic! Any flight I get that’s after midday, I have a little ritual of drinking a strong G&T. It instantly relaxes me, and even though aeroplane drinks can be £££ it’s 100% worth it!

I am blogging everyday in September, inspired by Effy Wild of www.effywild.com who is doing the same! Please check out her blog - she's awesome! And if you want to join in too, do leave a link to your blog in the comments and we can read along with each other :-)