Full time travel caught up with me about a month in. We had landed in Colombia after a three week stay in a beautiful house in Orlando, Florida.
By comparison, Colombia was busy, noisy and our apartment was small. I felt completely overwhelmed. It was a sensory and emotional overload.
For a few days, I felt completely destabilised. I was in a low mood, anxious and stressed. All I wanted to do was stay indoors and hide from the busyness that was going on in the world.
However, that busy world was the world that I had come all this way to see. I wanted to get out there and explore, but I need to feel a bit more grounded first.
That’s when I started I decided to reintroduce some of the tactics that I had been employing when I was back home. Those things that I did every day to make me feel good. It bring optimism back into my life.
And you know? They snapped me right out it. I’m good again. I feel happy and in control once more and am more than happy to get out into the world.
I’m sure you are super keen to know the strategies I used to bring about this transformation, so here they are:
Write in a journal
For months before we set off on this trip, I had been writing in a journal daily. I was using it as a way of keeping myself accountable in my business goal, but also as emotional offload.
I find that when I start writing this brings up things that I may have forgotten about. Old thoughts and feelings that are relevant but I hadn’t really been thinking about at the time.
Also, some things can feel a bit silly when you actually see them written on paper. When my brain is swirling in a downward spiral and I write those thoughts down they can seem trivial or completely stupid.
Writing in a journal is a very peaceful event. It makes little to no noise and when you are writing it quietens the million other narratives that might be going on in your head. You focus your attention entirely on the words in front of you.
Read a good book
Reading is the ultimate escapism. A good book can transport you to a new place and make you completely forget what is going on around you.
Sometimes, I will start a book and read it for a day or two and really struggle to get into it. That is not the right book. When this happens, I will go looking for a new book. My time is not to be wasted on books that don’t grab me.
When seeking calm, I also like to read mindset books. These books are super positive by default, so you don’t need to worry about the content.
The other benefit of these books is that you may develop some strategies to help extend the calm into the rest of your day. If you haven’t tried one yet then now is a good time to start.
Use your headphones
Whatever you like to listen to, your headphones can be a real asset when it comes to finding calm in your day.
In my travel freak out, headphones were the game changer for me. The cut out the noise that was around me and gave me access to things I enjoy.
I listen to a variety of different things through my headphones. Music, podcasts, affirmations and audiobooks all get a look in.
The best bit about headphones, like books, is that it is a very personal experience. You can listen to whatever you like, and you don’t need to share it with anyone.
This one has been hard to come by recently, but it is such a good way to relax and maintain good mental health.
Running and swimming are my personal favourites, but any exercise will do. I recommend finding something that you love so that you engage with it fully.
Alongside the mental benefits, you will also enjoy the physical benefits of regular exercise which will only improve your mood further.
Talk with your partner/family
If you need space and time out from life, then you need to be honest about that with the people that you share your life with.
Kids are tricky to manage but even my 4-year-old will understand if I tell her “mummy just wants to sit and read a book for 5 minutes.” It helps to give them something to do too, like a toy, game or 50” TV with a month’s worth of cartoons on continuous play.
Also, you may find that your family can help you find further ways to escape the busy world. You don’t have to come up with all the good ideas on your own.
Opening up to your family creates a dialogue where others will feel comfortable to talk about this too, therefore having the potential to eliminate further stress from your household.
Your life doesn’t have to be busy. Well, at least not all the time. It is OK to take time out to be calm, still, content and even bored if you want.
Find practices in your life that prevent those moments when you feel like you are losing control and negativity starts taking over. You deserve better than that.
Disclaimer: Remember the information you read here does not represent advice. Any ideas or suggestions are just that and may not work for you. Read the full disclaimer here.