So you quit your 9 to 5 job, sold your stuff, packed your bags, and booked a one-way ticket across the world. You are all ready for your new nomadic life, but there’s an extra step before blast-off…a mental health check.
This doesn’t always entail a therapist visit, but taking stock of your mental state before leaping out into the world prepares you to enjoy your travels to the fullest extent. In this article, I will share tips that have helped me keep a healthy mind during the past 2 years traveling as a digital nomad and online teacher.
Online work plus being in a foreign land has its own set of challenges and can leave you isolated. You are often switching homes, cultures, and time zones. Even the most adventurous of us go through stages of homesickness and culture shock.
The plus side? Travel has super healing powers! In my case, living in an unfamiliar country stripped away distractions and allowed me time to work out my inner dialogue. Every road has bumps, but the more you prepare, the smoother your journey will be!
5 Tips to Keep in Mind:
#1 When in Doubt, Walk it Out!
Photo by: Ivysonshine
Walks not only help hit the reset button on a rough day, they get your brain much-needed sunshine and serotonin. Your body gets an extra boost from Vitamin D and your legs get a stretch after long hours of computer work. Short daily walks will get you at ground level with your surroundings. They help you acclimate, interact with locals, learn the way of life, and find new cafes.
If you’re battling feelings of isolation, I’ve found this to be the fastest fix. Sometimes the best medicine for a low mood is a brisk walk and fresh O2.
#2 Phone a Friend
Photo by: Cottonbro
It’s easy to become wrapped up in adventures, learning languages, and chasing your dreams, but don’t forget the occasional check-in with friends and family. Often those you meet while traveling only know you for a few weeks or a month. It’s nice to have that FaceTime call with someone you trust. These talks can ground you if you are experiencing any culture shock and support a sense of normalcy.
#3 Routine is King
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio
Routines take discipline to build and can be even harder to keep. In my experience, once a routine is in place, I’m golden. Just a few days off my routine, and it feels as if I landed back at square one. Switching countries can take a full day of travel, plus you have to get set up with necessities in your new home. When changing locations often, you can see a breakdown of your daily practices.
Routine brings comfort, especially during long-term travel. I thrive on freedom and less structure, however building a routine has created a sacred space for me among the changing landscape of nomadic life. It allows me to feel safe, even in rough patches.
Find what is important for you and do it every day. Don’t skip your 10 minutes of meditation just because it is a travel day or wild excursion week. You can always fit in your most important routines if you prioritize them as crucial to your mental state.
If you like to do yoga or weightlifting, find a gym to attend before you even get to the next city and plan it as a non-negotiable on your schedule. Joining a gym gives you extra perks too, such as learning the local language and meeting friends.
(There is always room to be flexible with this, just find what works for you!)
You can also make the journaling habit a part of your daily routine. To learn more about how to journal, click HERE
If you want to have a productive morning routine, click HERE
#4 Know Where to Get Help
If you already know you have mental health issues that could arise, know where to get help ahead of time. This way you don’t find yourself in a bad rut without resources. You can always contact your embassy for help in locating medical services abroad.
You can also check out these resources with international hotline lists:
Call your insurance company to ensure they cover you for mental health emergencies while traveling. You will also need to make sure you have enough of any medications to last your trip or know how to get your prescriptions abroad. Many insurance companies offer online support or consultations by phone if you are having any issues. Have a plan in place in the event of a crisis.
#5 Stop, Drop, and NAP.
Sometimes it’s necessary to just STOP. Being in a novel environment can put pressure on you to not miss any experiences, see all the unique sights, and meet people. All this comes on top of working and planning your next move. Taking time out for those days where you just do nothing will give you some space for self-care and lazy Sundays. The world will still be there after your recharge nap or even recharge month. For shorter travel, you can maintain a nonstop rhythm, but not when you travel full-time. Take breaks.
#6 Meet the Locals & Other Nomads
With the internet and apps, it is easier than ever to connect with locals and fellow travelers in your area. You can join Facebook Groups and search for social events. You can join gyms or language classes. You can chat with people in the street or join a group tour. You can stay at a hostel or go for a night out. Whatever you do, remember, even off the beaten path you are always only a step away from meeting a close friend, adventure buddy, or even lover. So get out there and connect! Friendships and great conversation are the best way to feel at home, no matter where you find yourself.
Stay Safe, Stay Positive,
Stay Going Up!
Rachel is the creator of Unparalleled Dimension Travel, a blog inspiring adventurers to follow their arrows UP. This traveling tiger spent the last 2 years roaming 4 continents but is currently based in Thailand. Rachel is an online educator and filmmaker, documenting her journeys and providing day trip itineraries for her viewers.
Check out her work on:
Website – www.unparalleleddimension.com
Instagram: Tigre Libre Travels
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