It’s easier said than done, but it is a KEY part of planning a life-changing journey.
I know from first-hand experience just how stressful packing up your life and shipping it off half-way around the world is. When I began planning this trip nine months ago I thought I’d given myself ample time to prepare, but what I didn’t count on was the endless steam of distractions…aka life.
I ended up in my GP’s office thinking I had appendicitis, when in fact my body was just reacting to high levels of stress.
If I’ve learnt anything, it’s that no matter how much preparation, research, and risk-analysis you do before the big day, you will always have a sense of dread. That’s your body going into fight or flight mode, because fundamentally what you’re about to do is risky.
This isn’t a post about how best to prepare, it’s about how to not get sick with worry in the process.
Talk it out
Whenever you feel like the amount to do is piling up and suffocating you, grab a family member, partner, or friend and vent, vent, vent.
They don’t have couch sessions in therapy just for the fun of it, talking does help.
It can either distract you from what’s in your head or release built-up tension. I find my worries seem less scary when someone can shed some light on the situation.
Sleep away the stress
Don’t become Bruce. Having an endless stream of thoughts running through your head can make it difficult, if not impossible to sleep but it only makes matters worse if you don’t get regular shut-eye!
If I struggle, I found using an eye-mask and ear plugs helped shut out the world. Also try writing a list of all the things you need to do before tucking in for the night.
Feel the burn
I know it’s a misleading title, but I’m a journalist so what do you expect?
During the planning stages of my trip I would go to the gym four times a week (okay three but I would aim for four). It helped release all that excess adrenaline and cortisol building up in my body.
Even though I was was doing high-energy exercise I felt more relaxed and centered. Namaste. If you can’t afford a membership, just try running for 10-15 minutes a day to get some much-needed oxygen into those lungs of yours.
Read a book
Not just any book like 50 Shades of Grey, although that would release something. Philosophy literature is a great way to get a better perspective on the task your undertaking.
My boyfriend has a BIG love for anything that can widen your intellectual scope, which I would normally bat away with a pitch folk. But I owe him big time for passing me Authentic Happiness by Martin Seligman.
Although I probably couldn’t recite most of what was written, the author’s point that everyone has the power to inject real joy into their lives had a positive impact!
Don’t be a one man band
It might be an obvious one, but it wasn’t for me. I thought as it was my life-changing trip, I had to do EVERYTHING myself.
Turns out the people closest to you are more than happy to lend a hand and it can really lighten the load. Just accept you can’t do it all.