If you’re like me you love exploring new destinations, but find the actual experience of travel to be really destabilizing for your nervous system. Traveling with anxiety isn’t always pleasant, but it’s definitely possible with a little bit of planning. Below are my favorite items to travel with to help minimize pre-travel anxiety, while helping to stabilize your nervous system for your whole trip. They are simple, easy to use, and all fit inside of your carry-on!
Adaptogens are herbs that help your body adapt to different kind of stressors, i.e. traveling with anxiety. To be honest, I was never really a believer in them until my doctor prescribed me a blend for anxiety. Damn, they really worked! You don’t have to bring an herbal pharmacy with you on the plane since there are literally hundreds of convenient adaptogen supplements on the market. You can take them in pill form, powder, or tea. I like to bring a few packets of Four Sigmatic’s Chill Chai Latte and drink it on the plane instead of the terrible, artificially flavored tea they serve. I also like to take a dose of the the Life Seasons Adrenal-T blend or the Anxie-T blend (both of which are sold at Whole Foods in a travel size bottle) before I get to the airport to help with pre-trip anxiety.
Alexis Smart First Aid Kit
If you know me or follow me on Instagram, then you know I’m a huge fan of Alexis Smart Flower Remedies (read my review here!). Alexis Smart crafts flower remedies in the lineage of Dr. Bach. The small bottles are TSA friendly & you take them just by dropping a few drops under your tongue. The First Aid Kit blend is a fast acting remedy that can treat acute anxiety. You can take it as often as every 10 minutes until you calm down. Start taking the drops as soon as you feel that first tinge of pre-travel anxiety.
Whole Foods sells Bach Flower Remedies, but personally I have only had true success with the Alexis Smart line. I personally always use First Aid Kit for traveling with anxiety and try to keep a bottle in my purse at all times.
Snacks with Fat & Protein
Airplane snacks and things you could find around the airport are typically ultra processed, high in refined carbs, high in salt & contain sugar & artificial sweeteners. Excess salt, sugar, artificial sweeteners, and artificial food additives like MSG have all been shown to trigger anxiety. Sugar, refined carbs, and not eating consistently can cause blood sugar spikes and crashes, which will make traveling with anxiety sooo much worse.
Instead of risking your mood & mental health, pack healthy, filling snacks in your carry-on. Make sure your snacks include both healthy fats and protein to help stabilize your blood sugar and keep you feeling full longer. I typically pack: nuts, single serving almond butter packets, avocado & lime (yes, I make my own guacamole on the plane), gluten free crackers, a few squares of dark chocolate, and fresh fruit. I love these reusable bento boxes that make it super easy to pack a filling, healthy meal for yourself. Is this more effort than just grabbing McDonalds? Yes, but it’s less work than dealing with an anxiety attack. Like traveling with any chronic condition, a little bit of preplanning goes a long way.
An Engrossing Novel
Sometimes all you need to calm your anxiety is to be so engrossed in a different world that you forget you’re even on a plane! But reading isn’t just great for anxiety due to the element of distraction. Studies have found that reading can reduce stress levels by up to 68% and that 30 minutes of reading has benefits roughly equivalent to 30 minutes of meditation. The Harry Potter series and the Kingsbridge series by Ken Follett are my absolute favorites for being transported to another world.
It’s been my experience that certain essential oils have an amazing impact on anxiety. For me, I have found that anxiety is really triggered by asthma. Unfortunately, asthma medication is a well known anxiety trigger, as well, so I do my utmost to avoid taking it. I always travel with a bottle of Breathe blend by Doterra which is an incredible replacement for an inhaler. If you are having an anxiety or panic attack, it can also help you normalize your breathing. For anxiety symptoms I also love Doterra’s Serenity blend, which can be used as an oil or taken in capsule form.
Noise Cancelling Headphones
The constant noise and screaming babies while traveling can lead to some serious sensory overload, leading to an anxiety attack. I use Beats Noise Canceling headphones to drown out the noise. I’ll listen to binaural beats, classical music, or soothing sounds because listening to hours of modern music or podcasts on end can also contribute to sensory overload.
We all know that the best answer to anxiety is meditation. Of course, sitting still and breathing is last thing you want to do when you actually have anxiety! That being said, being trapped on an airplane is a good way to force yourself to meditate. You may or may not have wifi when you’e up in the air so plan ahead and download the meditations beforehand. For me, I really love the Soothe DI, the Triggers DI and the Emotional Clearing DI from To Be Magnetic. If you are a Pathway member you can download them with the Teachable app. I download a few Joe Dispenza meditations as well, although I don’t do the breathwork on the plane for fear of people thinking I’m insane.