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Look after your mental health while travelling

Look after your mental health while travelling
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5 tips to improve mental wellbeing while on holiday

It’s Canadian Mental Health Association’s Mental Health Week from 6–12 May 2019, so here are some tips to help maintain psychological wellbeing.

Travelling – particularly longer trips – can have an impact on your mental health and wellbeing., and it is important to acknowledge this and take steps to look after yourself. Even people who have never experienced mental ill health should be prepared, as the stress of travelling, changes to routines or even just having time to reflect can bring on distressing symptoms.

1.       Plan ahead for a healthy trip

Before you leave, take some time to work out how you’d get help while travelling. In a crisis it can be hard to think straight, so having the information to hand will prompt you to get the help you need. Do some research about local health services and attitudes to mental health and wellbeing. Make a note of any helplines or resources you could turn to.

If you are travelling for business, find out what support your employer offers, whether it’s a helpline or a healthcare package and make a note of how to access it.

2.       Get travel insurance before you go

Your provincial health plan may not offer coverage for healthcare overseas. Healthcare is expensive and if you travel without insurance you will have to pay the bills. See our post about travel health insurance for more information.

3.       Look after your physical health when you go abroad

Mental and physical health are firmly intertwined. When you remember that “low mood” is a symptom of many physical illnesses, it’s easy to see how a stomach bug or respiratory illness can also have an impact on your mental health. One of the best things you can do to look after your physical health on your travels is to make an appointment with a travel health nurse before you go. And if you are managing an existing health condition, whether it’s mental or physical, talk to your normal healthcare provider to find out if there are any issues you should be aware of.

4.       Rest up while travelling

You may be on holiday, but adjusting to another culture is hard work, so build rest days into your schedule. If you do get ill while travelling, take time to rest and recover. Pain and discomfort have an impact on your mental wellbeing, so don’t struggle on just because you are worried about missing out.

5.       Be ready for culture shock

Culture shock is a real thing, and it doesn’t mean you’ve failed as a traveller. It happens when familiar patterns and cues are withdrawn, and even experienced travellers get culture shock. There is quite a list of symptoms:

  • apathy
  • compulsive eating
  • depression
  • excessive drinking
  • irritability
  • negative stereotyping of the local people
  • recurring minor illnesses.

The Government of Canada’s tips for coping with culture shock include learning the rules of the country you are visiting, getting involved with the culture and maintaining contact with home.

How do I make an appointment for travel vaccinations in Vancouver Downtown?

Canadian Travel Clinics can offer same-day vaccinations and advice about all aspects of travel health – including mental wellbeing – at our travel clinics in Vancouver Downtown and other cities. Make an appointment online right now.