Traveling is almost unbearably stressful – even if it is for vacation. Especially if it is for work and you have to be places on time. Ironically not traveling during the pandemic was taking a serious toll on our mental health. But now, traveling again is affecting our mental health in new and different ways.
Sleep deprivation, time pressure, lack of a regular food and exercise routines, and unavoidable delays are hallmarks of travel, even pre-pandemic. But now, there is definitely a more palpable pressure and it seems to boil over when you get to the airport. Even if you have your boarding pass prior, you have to figure out what to do with your checked luggage, where to go to verify your documentation, and then deal with security, having your bags taken aside for screening, and long, crazy lines. That is, if random storms and airline strikes do not cause your flight to cancel altogether. Airlines are making things a little bit easier by allowing you to upload test results and attestation forms beforehand, but it still is a big to-do to even get through airport security. And, if your last journey was like mine, you will sit on the tarmac for 3 hours because of some “missing paperwork.” Why is paperwork always such an issue – is that code for something else? Seems like an almost anachronistic reference, like isn’t everything in the cloud? Regardless, these delays can cause you stress especially if you have a connecting flight.
This current situation has turned up the travel stress to about 1000. But we need to keep on going – especially for business travel. So how do we deal with the stomach-gnawing anxiety and uphold our mental health? My tips follow – and they are the best ones, because I just tried them out on myself in real time.