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travel and depression | Terezia Farkas | depression help | Beliefnet

Travel and depression is the idea that somehow new settings will cure depression. It doesn’t work that way.

Travel and depression won’t cure you. It’s a nice idea, but the truth is travel is often a stressful experience that aggravates anxiety and depression. Travel is not a cure.

Fleeing to avoid uncomfortable situations is to be human. After all, the fight-or-flight response has been around since the dawn of time. Easy and cheap travel booking literally makes the flight part easy.

Manhattan psychologist Dr. Joseph Cilona also adds that if the escape in the form of travel is done impulsively, there’s a greater likelihood depression symptoms will rebound or return even stronger than before.

And we’ve all experienced that — the moment we land and turn flight mode off: all the pings, notifications, and text messages overwhelm like a flash flood.

“The tendency is to attribute the cause of suffering to something outside of yourself: your job, your family, your relationship, and so on,” notes Mary V. Seeman, MDCM, DSc, Professor Emerita at the University of Toronto. “So you travel to get away from the supposed causes only to find that the depression is inside.”

What if traveling makes your depression worse?

Travel can be a stressful experience. For people who just drop everything and leave, it can be worse. “Be aware that travel has the potential to make things worse or better for those struggling with depression and be very conscious of your intentions by planning thoughtfully and thoroughly,” urges Dr. Cilona.

Trying to coordinate transportation, locate lodging, and plan activities that flow seamlessly throughout the trip is often a daunting task. Add in the many uncontrollable factors of travel like flight delays and inclement weather? Well, people diagnosed with depression can become even more overwhelmed than the everyday traveler.

Even the most well planned attempts at travel when you’re depressed comes with the risk of making things more difficult and challenging.

If you’re thinking of dropping everything and leaving, there are some other things you may want to consider before taking the plunge.

Holidays and other peak-travel periods can increase your anxiety. Where you’re traveling matters, too. Traveling abroad requires much more preparation and consideration than traveling domestically. All of these elements can exacerbate and add symptoms of depression, even though you’re leaving your everyday life behind.

There’s a healthy way to take on travel and depression

“Once you realize that the tangled causes of the depressed feeling come from the inside, it becomes easier to sort them out by talking to friends or counselors,” advises Dr. Seeman. “[Help yourself] by meditating, by improving sleep, hygiene, and diet, getting more exercise, stopping habits like alcohol and drugs, sorting out interpersonal problems, and potentially even by taking antidepressants.”

This isn’t to say that people with depression can’t travel in a healthy way. Dr. Cilona notes that a conscious use of travel for healthy respite or relief can be helpful. It’s when travel is viewed as a cure that problems arise.

For people who travel with depression, treatment while you’re away from your everyday surroundings and support system can often be the same or require only slight alterations to your current treatment. Once you’ve learned what tools and assistance are effective for you, relying on many of the same practices while on the road is sufficient.

Treat Yourself on the Go

  • adhere to a meditation practice
  • opt to sightsee by foot
  • eat healthy local cuisine

 

Thanks to Healthline for the article.

Click here to find out about Terezia Farkas and Depression Help

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