Travel Stress – Just Extra Baggage

Do you ever feel like you need to “rest up” after you return from a vacation? Are business trips so full of tension that you come home exhausted? Worry about lost luggage and travel schedules, along with disrupted sleeping and eating patterns, can create stress.


    To get the maximum benefit from any trip, minimize stress with these suggestions:


  1. Allow plenty of time to reach your destination or catch your flight. Having a few minutes to spare is better than rushing and being anxious.
  2. Plan and pack. Then don’t worry about what you may have forgotten. Unless your destination is in a remote area, you can purchase almost anything you forget.
  3. Don’t be worried about things beyond your control like late departures or lost luggage. It’s wasted energy, Department of Transportation statistics show that at least 3/4 of all flights arrive within 15 minutes of their scheduled time and you have a 99% chance of your luggage arriving with you.
  4. Be sure to get plenty of sleep. Exhaustion can increase your feelings of stress.
  5. Try to eat normal meals. Resist the temptation to skip a meal or over-indulge.
  6. Don’t schedule too much in one day. Postpone some activities for another day. Don’t sightsee and walk so much that you are too tired to enjoy the next day. Pass up events that cause stress.
  7. Do what you enjoy. If you would rather picnic than go fishing at 5:00 AM, do it.
  8. Maintain your normal physical fitness activities. Exercise is a great stress reliever.
  9. Practice one or more of the following relaxation techniques:



  • Deep Natural Breathing–Inhale through the nose and hold for the count of 3. Slowly release your breath through pursed lips. Concentrate on the sound of your own breathing. Repeat 3-5 times for relaxation.


  • Mental Imagery–Gently close your eyes and use all your powers of imagination to create a soothing, restful image. Pick a place such as a deserted beach, a quiet meadow, a mountain stream or a park. Concentrate on all the sensory aspects. Imagine yourself feeling very relaxed and calm in this environment.


  • Tighten and Relax–Using only hands and arms, squeeze them tight for the count of 5. (Do not squeeze or tighten any other body parts.) Then release the tension and slowly rest hands in your lap and concentrate on the relaxation of muscles fibers unwinding. Repeat 3-5 times. Then inhale and exhale deeply and slowly.


  • Eye Relaxer–Gently close your eyes and cup your palms over them. Do not press the eyelids. Take several deep, relaxing breaths and release any tension. Focus in on the blackness. Slowly open your eyes when you feel rested.


  • Auto-Suggestion–Gently close your eyes and imagine that you sense warmth penetrating from your shoulders down into your hands. Imagine the warmth of a heating pad or warm bath water. Repeat to yourself “my arms feel warm” several times. Do deep breathing along with this.


    Then create the gentle sensation of heaviness. Imagine small weights on top of your hands and arms. Concentrate on the heaviness while deep breathing. Repeat the procedure for your face, neck, shoulders, back and legs.


  • Thought Stopping–When a negative or stressful thought occurs, close your eyes and count to three. Then imagine yelling the word “STOP”,” a stop sign, a flashing red light or the bold letters S T O P. Pinch yourself or pull an earlobe at the same time. If the thought reoccurs, repeat the procedure.

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American Institute for Preventive Medicine Written by American Institute for Preventive Medicine

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