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5 Tips for Preparing to Travel With a Mental Illness

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Organizing a trip away from home should be fun: booking transport, places to stay, things to do. Having a mental illness adds a complexity to travel that can make it stressful, so early planning is a must. The following are tips to help make it easier.

1. Be realistic.

If you live with a mental illness, you may go through stages where you wish you could go away and leave your illness behind. Unfortunately, this isn’t going to happen. Being realistic means acknowledging there may be hiccups along the way, but that you are strong enough to cope with them.

2. Pack all medications required.

Not having meds with you is a massive stressor at any time, especially if you are on medication with short-lasting effectiveness. Make sure you have enough, and/or where possible, any scripts you may need to fill along the way. Sorting medications into a pill box or two will also save space in your luggage.

3. Have the contact details of any assistance you might need along the way.

This may include pharmacists, general practitioners and even local hospitals. Even if you never use them, it’s a comfort to know they are there.

4. Plan for “recovery days.”

Doing too much when mentally ill can be exhausting, not to mention potentially triggering. Factor days into your itinerary where you can just relax and restore, especially on the day after any big events. Likewise, let other traveling partners know you will require these days beforehand.

5. Celebrate your achievements.

People with mental illnesses are renowned for being quite hard on themselves. Just as you would celebrate someone else’s achievements, isn’t it fair to treat yourself with the same kindness?

Photo by Ethan Sykes on Unsplash

Originally published: February 28, 2019
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