Wanderers, COVID and Mental Health

There are enough memes all over the internet about wanderers and travel lovers who are stuck at home or at one spot all through this pandemic. While we all enjoy a good laugh, travel blues are for real and here’s what’s helped me recover from them.

From being my biggest travel year to being one where I haven’t travelled at all, 2020 has been a ride full of disappointments. From being unhappy about cancelled plans to slowly being grateful to be healthy and surrounded by loved ones – it’s been a journey. One I’m here to share.

  1. Daily Affirmations: While this may sound like a whole lot of hoopla for some, it really helped me get through those dark overcast mornings in my head. I gave myself 10 minutes each day to sit by myself and recount all the things I’m grateful for and all that I’ve achieved. This little mental reminder helped me more than I thought it would.
  2. A Hobby (or two): I won’t be lying if I said that planning for travels was my only consistent hobby pre 2020! I would spend hours online looking for new places to head to or help a friend plan their travels. This year, I picked up other hobbies & I’m glad I did. I went back to my long forgotten love for books. From 2019 where I read 3 books in the whole year, 2020 has been FULL of over 20 books. I also picked up painting, I’m no artist but it’s been fun to play around with a brush on canvas.
  3. Talk, Express, Reach out: I’ve connected with so many fellow travellers and we’ve exchanged how we feel and how we’re each dealing with it. It’s always good to know you aren’t the only one feeling this way.
  4. Don’t expect everyone to get it: I struggled so much initially when I wondered why people around me didn’t understand how I felt. It took time and patience to understand that everyone has their own internal struggles. My love for travel could be someone else’s love for dining out. Each one of us struggled during COVID in our own ways and we can’t expect everyone to always ‘get’ how we feel.
  5. Don’t make plans: Yes, this is something not everyone agrees with BUT I’ve stopped making travel plans for the future or even looking at potential destinations I’d like to travel to. Initially, I was all about being optimistic and looking up places I’d visit in 2021 but then I realised the anxiety it gave me and how I almost compulsively travelled in August (still amidst COVID) just because I ‘couldn’t take it anymore’! Let’s not be reckless, let’s slow down, let’s wait this out because soon it will get better and we can all travel then, when it’s safer for us and for those we interact with. Shift your focus to things other than seeing this beautiful planet.
  6. TV shows and Movies: I’ve found such joy in watching shows and movies from across the world. One big part of why I love to travel is to learn and immerse myself in the local culture, food, language and customs. Movies and shows are such a great way of doing all that, from your home! I wrote about Movies to Stay and Wander With , check it out.
  7. Cooking: I’ve tried my amateur hand at Mexican, Italian, Thai, Indian, Burmese and American. You can too! I’m no chef by a long shot but experimenting with different ingredients and cooking styles helped me learn more about different countries and kept me engaged and encouraged.
  8. Crying: Ah yes! I’m not going to deny this one. I’ve cried. Multiple times. Most times, it really helped release all that pent up anxiety. If you’re a cry-er (like me), just cry. It will help relieve all that tension inside you and make you feel so much lighter and (dare I say) happier! I am someone who lives on emotions, even if I don’t always show them.
  9. Tell people you love them: I’m not shy from telling people how much I love them and care for them. I’m all about love! Giving it, sharing it, receiving it, showing it and 2020 needs more of it.
  10. Taking the day off: Not just from work, but from everything. I’ve taken ‘day-offs’ when I’ve been asked to be left alone, binged on the cringiest movies, eaten take out, not gotten out of my pyjamas, not responded to any texts or calls (I’m sorry!) and just done whatever I pleased. Giving yourself a break from work, social pressures, cooking, cleaning (& bathing) can sometimes be all the therapy you need.
  11. News Detox: Too much information about the pandemic and everything it brought with it can sometimes be too much. Turn it off on your phone, stay away from news on the TV and give yourself a break. Sometimes we need rose coloured glasses to see the world, even it’s just for a few days.
  12. Be kind to yourself: Last one, maybe also the hardest. We’re good at being kind to others but we are OUR biggest critics. Be kind to yourself, forgive yourself for those hours you spent scrolling or the times you skipped your exercise and ate some chocolate. This is hard for everyone, no matter how much harder it is for someone else.

I hope this helps you get out of your blues and tell me what worked for you because, honestly, this is all still Work-In-Progress 🙂

4 thoughts on “Wanderers, COVID and Mental Health

Add yours

  1. I agree with you- it’s best not to make any travel plans to avoid the disappointment. We were planning to visit Christmas markets and see our family and friends here in Ireland, only to be back in a very strict level five lockdown. I would love nothing more than to travel somewhere, but it doesn’t look like anyone is going anywhere this year. Thanks for sharing and stay positive 😀 Aiva

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