Surviving Holiday Travel: The One Thing To Remember
We all know the pre-flight safety announcement reminding us to put on our oxygen masks before assisting others. It's a simple yet powerful message that extends beyond air travel, emphasizing the importance of self-care. But how often do we apply this wisdom in our daily lives, especially during family travel in the holiday season?
Taking care of ourselves is often sidelined in the hustle and bustle of family life. However, it's crucial for our well-being. Engaging in self-care helps manage stress, prevent illness, and makes us better parents, friends, and partners. As we prepare for holiday travel, embracing self-care becomes even more vital—the best present you can give yourself.
The Importance of Self-Care
Defined by the National Institute of Mental Health, self-care involves actions that promote physical and mental health. Despite its significance, prioritizing self-care can be a struggle amidst the demands of parenting, from ensuring toddlers have nutritious meals to making sure teenagers get ample sleep. Yet, incorporating self-care during travel is not only possible but essential. Additionally, the American Psychological Association offers insights into the benefits of self-care for mental health.
The holidays, while joyful, can also be stressful. Anxiety may spike due to financial strain, health concerns during cold and flu season, social expectations, and complex family dynamics. A few small acts of self-care can be pivotal in maintaining health and sanity during this season.
Holiday Travel and Self-Care: An Unlikely Duo
The festive season brings unique challenges, disrupting routines with tempting treats. Regular exercise and healthy eating habits might take a back seat to homemade eggnog and gingerbread cookies.
- When traveling by plane, train, or automobile (also a great movie), here are some strategies to maintain self-care:Embrace Survival Tactics: If you find yourself eating your child’s gummy bears on a plane, don't sweat it. Traveling with family is all about survival.
- Relax Home Rules: If your kids are content watching the entire Harry Potter series or playing video games, let them. It’s a great opportunity for you to rest and recharge.
- Manage Expectations: Focus on what you've achieved each day rather than what you couldn't. Incorporate simple breathing exercises to keep anxiety at bay. Harvard Health discusses how controlled breathing can help reduce stress.
- Take a Walk: Even a short stroll can significantly relieve stress. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highlight the benefits of walking as a way to reduce stress and improve physical health.
- Meditate: Meditation can be a great tool for relaxation, whether using an app or in-flight entertainment systems that often include mindfulness programs.
- Learn to Say No: The holiday season can overwhelm with invitations and commitments. It's okay to decline and prioritize your well-being.
Traveling with Toddlers?
The Paperclip Diaper Bag to the Rescue
Preparing for holiday travel with toddlers? Don’t forget to pack the essentials in a reliable diaper bag. The Paperclip Diaper Bag is designed to make travel with little ones easier, featuring compartments for all your baby’s needs and a built-in changing station for on-the-go convenience.
Holiday Travel Lessons
Self-care is a highly individual practice, and there's no one-size-fits-all approach. Amid the chaos of family travel and holiday festivities, remember the essence of the season: cherishing moments with loved ones. By prioritizing self-care, we can navigate holiday travel more smoothly, ensuring we’re well-equipped to create lasting memories.
Taking care of yourself first is a vital lesson, not just when flying but in all aspects of life. And perhaps no other metaphor sums up how to best prepare for family travel—especially during the frenetic holiday season. This year, give yourself the gift of self-care. It might just turn out to be the best gift you receive.
Written by Jamie Edwards
Jamie is an avid traveler, travel writer, and photographer. She launched I am Lost and Found, her adventure/luxury travel website after 25 years of living and traveling around the globe. She has lived in both NYC and Tokyo. Today she resides in Washington DC with her husband, two kids, and two black labs. Jamie’s goal is simple: to inspire travel.