How to Survive Travel Burnout
BY SARAH BRYAN
I know I must sound like a broken record lately, with all the talking I’ve done about our recent travels. It feels like that’s all there’s been to talk about. It’s been an all-consuming part of our lives for the past few weeks. Now we can finally relax and reflect back on it. Through it all, it’s felt so exciting but also incredibly overwhelming, and the travel burnout has been REAL.
First, we flew to San Diego for a little over a week to see our friends who had just come home after living in Okinawa for three years. These are some of our best friends, and it was so special to see them. We had one week at home after that and then flew to Panama City, FL, to vacation and celebrated with some of our other besties on their engagement. Another super meaningful, exciting vacation that we were so grateful to be a part of. Then, just a couple of days after getting home, we flew to Portland for the first time in almost a year to see my mom and attend another friend’s 30th birthday party, which was also her engagement!
So many exciting, wonderful moments to celebrate. And how lucky we are to have such amazing friends to celebrate within our lives. Can’t take that for granted. But… at the same time, holy freaking crap, it has been… STRESSFUL.
Between travel, work, this blog, school, settling more into our new home, and all the usual life stuff, Dan and I have taken turns having moments where the stress seems to wash over and gobble you right up. Luckily, these moments have also served as learning experiences for how to handle life better when things get chaotic. My mental health has not been its best recently, but I feel like it’s SO much better than where it would have been if we’d been doing all of this even just a year ago. I’ve developed new habits that I made sure not to leave behind during our travels, and I believe they really did make all the difference. So with that, here are my tips on how to survive travel burnout:
Keep up on your supplements
Whatever your daily routine is with supplements and/or medications, don’t let it go just because you’re on vacation. Usually, when I come home from a trip, I feel like complete shit, and I think it has a lot to do with the fact that I usually leave all of my supplements at home (or forget to take them). But this time, I stayed on track and took my multivitamin and another supplement I take as a mood booster, and it helped me stay level during and after my trips. (The mood booster I take is saffron based, a natural antidote for stress and anxiety. I am not a doctor, so please speak with your health care provider before making any changes in your supplement/medication routine, but I will say I’ve found it very effective and SO helpful.)
Meditate or exercise
Okay, so I didn’t do a lot of actual meditating on my trips, but I did consciously choose to stay present in them as much as possible. To quiet the mind and soak it all in (which I’d say is pretty dang close). We also didn’t do much exercising, but I did try out one class and did a lot of walking, dancing, swimming, etc. Vacation activities are often at least somewhat physically demanding, so that makes it a little easier too.
Make some of your meals + snacks healthy
Not sure about you, but when I’m on vacation, I want to eat like everything might be my last meal. I love food, and I love the opportunity to sit around a table with people you love and talk and laugh and drink and eat (especially when the food’s REALLY good). There’s nothing like it, and vacation is the perfect setting for it. That being said, you’ve gotta remember to eat your greens and get in some nutrients. Find a restaurant known for its amazing salads, get some green juices for the fridge at your hotel, and bring some electrolyte packets to add to your water- whatever you can do to give your body as much nourishment as possible.
And speaking of electrolytes… HYDRATION IS KEY. Between all the drinking, junk we ate, and the general stress that travel puts on our bodies, I’d argue this may be the most helpful tip. On every trip, I first ran to the grocery store and bought these water bottles. I’m just now learning about the benefits of spring water and how important mineralization is to our bodies. Now that I’m drinking this water, I feel the difference. In the past, water has been the last thing on my mind while on vacation. Having water bottles around makes it easy to stay on top of.
Maybe this is just part of getting older, but almost every night while on each of these trips, we went to bed around midnight at the latest. We actually got full nights of sleep while also not sleeping in until noon. And it felt so good to wake up early, feeling rested, knowing your day is going to be all about relaxation and having fun. Truly if the trips hadn’t panned out like this, I don’t know if we would have survived, lol.
With all these trips lined up in a row, it put our lives on pause for about a month. There were many things I wanted to do but didn’t have the time for, and thinking about it made me ANXIOUS. And no one wants to go on vacation feeling that way. Ideally, I would have had it all done before that, but that was incredibly unrealistic. The next best option so that I wouldn’t be driven mad while trying to relax on the trip? Write it all down. Literally list every single little thing you need/want to get done. In your phone, on a notepad, whatever. Dump it all out from your brain into writing, and then Let. It. Go. Once it’s in writing, you’ll feel so much lighter knowing you can free your mind for now and revisit all that shit later. Who knows, some of it may even feel (or actually be) unnecessary by the time you get back to it. I know I tend to think of stupid shit to add to my to-do’s when I’m already feeling overwhelmed.
If these past few weeks have taught me anything, it’s that travel burnout (along with all other types of burnout) is real. Recognizing it is an important skill to develop. And even more importantly, to have some tools readily available to handle it. We also learned to never book 3 trips within 4 weeks ever again..lol. Jk. But only when absolutely necessary.
Have you been feeling travel burnout? What have you found that helps? Would love to hear your tips and tricks!
If you enjoyed this blog post, read Cures for Post Trip Blues.
Learn more about Sarah and her blog at Complicated Basic.