Seeing Red: Getting stressed out while solo travelling

Sometimes things pile up and get on top of you and you want to scream at somebody because nothing’s going right. Sound familiar? Well everybody goes through this but when you’re travelling and you have no one to share the burden with, things can seem a bit hopeless.

Now I’m a bury-your-head-in-the-sand-and-hope-it-goes-away kind of person at heart. I hate confrontation so I hope things work themselves out. But sometimes they don’t and suddenly you’re faced with what seems like a never-ending maze of problems. Here are my tips for a more carefree outlook:

  1. Sort out the basic stuff.

Turning a big problem into small statistics such as figures, times or facts make things more manageable and help you to remove emotion from it.

If it’s money you’re worried about, don’t push it to the back of your mind and shake it off. Write down facts and figures, even if they’re so small they make you want to cry. It’s better to confront them visually and be realistic about, feel that lump of panic, then get over it. You’d be surprised how your mind figures things out unconsciously. Once you’ve come face to face with the facts you start dealing with them. It’s happening whether you like it or not! If it’s plans and it seems like too much organising to handle, write down the basics ie. I need to be here at this time, I then need to leave at this time etc. Again, your brain will help you out and draw links. I’m a very visual person so seeing things on paper make it easier to organise. Think of a way you prefer. Make a voice note on your phone, talk outloud to yourself, draw pictures, move around your area as if you were playing out the scene, whatever makes it clearer in your mind. Then you can get onto the smaller issues. And I don’t care if people think you’re crazy talking to yourself and acting out imaginary scenes. You will never see these people again. If you refuse to acknowledge stuff you’ll go crazy for real.

  1. Breathe

Once all that basic stuff is taken care of, sit down somewhere and breathe.

Just for five minutes if that’s all you’ve got. It will do you the world of good and remind you that you are only human and that sometimes things go wrong. Concentrating on your breath is used over and over again in meditation and yoga because it forces us to think about ourselves, our physical space and our minds. It slows us down. I heard once before that your mind works through all of the tough stuff when you’re doing the most mundane things. Example: for men, having a shave is something they do all the time (unless they’re the beautiful beardy type) so they don’t have to actively think about it. Whilst their conscious mind switches off for a few minutes, their unconscious and subconscious have a bit more space to work through thoughts that you’ve pushed back. It could be drawing, singing, knitting, walking or simply just breathing.

  1. Take action

If you try and make plans with a scatterbrain then your plans will be scattered and you’ll be even more frustrated you can’t overcome this problem!

So not you’ve acknowledged the shitty situation you’re in, you’ve confronted the big problem that’s stressing you out and you’ve turned the problem into a mere series of facts and numbers. Anyone can deal with facts and numbers! Great. That aside, you’ve sat down and had five minutes to yourself just to breath, slow down and switch off (the latter obviously easier said than done). Now you’re in the right frame of mind to come up with an action plan. That person who’s been bugging you and messing up plans for the past week is not just a problem to be solved instead of a confrontation to avoid. The realisation that you’re skint broke is now just a small figure for you to re-budget. Taking action and making decisions is much easier with a clear head. That’s why people ‘sleep on it’. You’ll have a little more perspective to see a bigger picture. You can micromanage the small parts of the problem rather than being overwhelmed with it all. Again, my way of doing this is writing stuff down but whatever helps you to make things crystal clear is fine.

And if this doesn’t work, just trying breathing. Be that annoying hippy with a constant smile on your face that blooms from inner happiness? Know how she does it? She takes a few minutes to appreciate how great things can be and breathes.

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