If you have social anxiety, traveling may feel out of the question. However, for those with the urge and passion to travel, this isn’t an option. For many, traveling is incredibly important to them. It’s not just a way to check off places on your bucket list. Rather, it’s a passion-filled hobby. So, in this article, you will read some tips on how to travel with social anxiety so you can enjoy your time making new memories.
What is Social Anxiety?
Many people think getting a bit nervous before going to dinner with a new friend or going on a first date is social anxiety. While in some cases it may be, social anxiety disorder is actually much more severe. Social anxiety can be debilitating for those who suffer from it. Some refuse to get out of their house and do regular things such as going to the grocery store. It’s a mental health disorder that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Here are some common symptoms of social anxiety:
• Avoiding situations where people will speak to you, such as the mall or grocery store
• Having an anxiety attack because you are in public
• Fear that people will see you are anxious
• Second-guessing yourself after a social interaction
• Not wanting to experience new things out of fear of interaction, such as travel
If you haven’t received a diagnosis of social anxiety, it’s best to see a professional. They can help you understand if your nerves are just that, or if they are social anxiety disorder. Then, you can discuss how you can cope with your feelings, especially while traveling.
Tips For Traveling with Social Anxiety
Now that you understand some common symptoms of social anxiety, let’s discuss how to travel with these symptoms. It’s important to note that traveling may be a social anxiety trigger, or it can actually help your symptoms. It just depends on the person with anxiety. But, with the tips below, traveling may be more enjoyable for everyone.
Plan Your Stay
Being in control of where you’re going and the places you will be can help ease anxiety. Knowing where you will check in for your hotel, what museum you will go to afterward, and already printing your tickets can make things much easier. Have a plan and know what you will do when you are at a particular location. Are you going to relax on the beach for an hour then get dinner? What restaurant are you going to? Which dish are you going to order when you get to the restaurant? Knowing the answers to these questions can be helpful. However, don’t be afraid to be more spontaneous. Planning is just about having some extra confidence as you are traveling and having enough confidence to change your plans.
Express Your Anxiety
This sounds counterintuitive since many have the fear of people knowing they are anxious, but it can help. Expressing you are anxious about something, such as going on a boat tour or doing a particular activity can ease some anxiety. It also clues people in on how you are feeling and understand they should help you. This is even more so the case if you are traveling with someone. Even just saying, “I have never been here before, can you help me?” can be enough to open yourself up to being vulnerable with someone.
Many people with social anxiety try to pretend they aren’t anxious, and then get anxious about if they are successfully tricking those around them. This creates a cycle of anxiety that only ends when you’re alone. So, rather than trying to fake it, try clueing someone in on how you are feeling. Today, anxiety is widely spoken about, and everyone either has anxiety, or knows someone who does. So don’t be embarrassed about how you feel and hide your anxiety. Not to mention, if someone reacts negatively to you expressing your anxiety, they aren’t someone you should be around anyways.
Read About Your Mental Health Disorder
Sometimes, reading about your mental health disorder can be tremendously helpful. Reputable blogs, such as the ones from Mind Diagnostics, can educate you on what you’re dealing with. They can explain why you have anxiety during certain situations. They can even give you tips on how to manage specific symptoms. When you completely understand your feelings, it can be a great reminder that you aren’t doing anything wrong, but your brain is simply having a chemical reaction.
Traveling with Social Anxiety
There’s something about traveling that can be calming for those with social anxiety. It may be the understanding you may never see the people around you again. Or, it may be that it pushes you to get out of your comfort zone. Either way, the exposure to a new situation can help you learn new tools to deal with your social anxiety. The tips above can help you feel more comfortable in these new situations.