Tips For Coping With Depression While Traveling
North American Precis Syndicate
You don't have to let the stress of travel make depression worse, experts advise. (NAPS)
(NAPSI)—According to a recent University of Phoenix® survey, 39
percent of respondents say they have personally experienced depression. With
the holiday travel season under way, University of Phoenix social sciences
program chairs Mary Jo Trombley, Ph.D., N.C.C., and DeAnna Henderson, Ph.D.,
L.P.C., N.C.C., say that living with chronic or situational depression can be
challenging to handle, and travel can add additional burdens.
What Is Depression?
The American Psychological Association defines depression as a common and
serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you
think and how you act. The association lists common symptoms of depression as
including feelings of sadness or depression, change in sleep patterns and
eating habits, loss of energy, feelings of fatigue, loss of interest in
activities, and the inability to think, concentrate or make decisions.
According to Dr. Trombley, these symptoms can become exacerbated when traveling.
She states that traveling should not be seen as a cure for depression. It can
be a way to obtain temporary relief but worry, stress, pressure and
loneliness are contributing factors to depression and are often present for
"Traveling comes with changes in routine, pressures of time commitments,
and changes in eating, sleeping and exercising patterns," Dr. Henderson
added. "These changes can trigger a sense of not being in control and
increase the sense of depression."
Tips for Traveling with Depression
Depression can be challenging. Drs. Trombley and Henderson provide the
following strategies to help individuals cope when traveling.
Plan ahead: For someone who may
be struggling with depression, it is best to plan for travel as opposed to
making an impulsive trip. Plan as much of the trip as possible. Know your
route and possible delays, and have snacks in case you are delayed. Build in
enough time to travel through airports and security check-points if flying to
Self-management is the ability to manage your personal reactions to
responsibilities and challenges in work and life. This becomes critical
during times of adapting to changing situations. Recognizing triggers and
your body's response to unfamiliar and stressful situations can help keep
depressive symptoms at bay.
Use appropriate coping strategies:
Techniques that help people manage stressful and/or traumatic situations are
coping strategies. These strategies can include the use of mindfulness,
guided imagery, deep breathing exercises, and progressive muscle relaxation.
Additionally, reaching out to support systems during this time can diminish
feelings of loneliness during travel. Finally, the use of humor can be
effective in reducing stress.
Get a sufficient amount of sleep,
exercise, and eat well: Travel can be exhausting. It is important to
maintain patterns of sleep and healthy eating while traveling. Moreover, the
maintenance of an exercise routine can also help reduce stress and release
endorphins while traveling. It is also important to limit alcohol consumption
as alcohol is a depressant and may exacerbate depressive symptoms.
Be realistic about your travel
plans: Recognize that even though you have planned your travel, unplanned
situations can occur. Maintaining a flexible stance can reduce the amount of
stress experienced if travel does not go as planned. Also, while travel may
alleviate some depressive symptoms, do not be alarmed if your symptoms return
once the travel has ended.
of Phoenix is committed
to training professional counselors who help treat depression and other
mental health needs. Through programs like the Master of Science in
Counseling with a specialization in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, University of Phoenix is helping individuals combat
mental illness during the holidays and beyond.
On the Net:North American Precis Syndicate, Inc.(NAPSI)