The holiday season starts this week and that means travel for a lot of people. I started thinking about weather and airplanes and trains and crowded terminals and delayed flights. Imagining all the ways in which stress could get the better of us, I thought that this week I would talk a bit about how to avoid “personal and family meltdowns”.
Prepare for the Unexpected
Last winter in Washington, D.C. we had a January storm that came upon us fast. I left my job at 3 p.m. and due to the amount of snow falling and the amount of people driving on the roads, a trip that usually takes me 45 min. took me 10 hours!! Talk about your possible meltdown! All of us were in the same boat that day, never going above 10 mph for hours on end.
What saved me?
I had provisions in my car. I had a full bottle of water, a banana, some nuts and best of all, music, a full tank of gas and a cell phone.
PLAN to Reduce Stress
None of us wants to imagine the worst scenarios for our holiday travel adventures, but extra planning can help to make the most of any delays. Water, food and activities to distract you help to eliminate the irritation of the situation. Stress is implicated in so many disease states! Don’t let the annoyance factor play over and over in your head until it has escalated past the point of no return!
Pack or buy extra water, make sure your phone is charged and bring the charger in your backpack (not your suitcase) pack an extra day’s worth of necessary medications (super important to prevent stress!) and make sure to bring healthy snacks like trail mix and fruit. Eat a meal with protein or healthy fats in it before you leave the house. That way no matter what else happens that day, you will have started it out on a good note. Take some Vitamin C before you travel and take some in your backpack to protect you against airborne microbes in a crowded terminal. If delays should occur and you are stuck in a freezing airport or train station, you’ll be a lot happier if you have extra sweaters to keep yourself and your family warm.
Holidays can be stressful in the best of situations. Be kind to yourself and have everything you need to feel comfortable should you get delayed. Just in case, you want to be prepared for YOUR version of a 10 hour ride home!