How to practice self-care while travelling 

July 23, 2019

Experiencing burnout when travelling is inevitable. When you’re in a constant rhythm of planning, moving, socializing and adventuring, at some point you’ll realize you’re exhausted from it all. That means it’s time to check in with yourself to see if you need a break or to include more self-care in your travel routine. While backpacking is fun, it also takes a lot of energy. Don’t feel guilty if you need some space away from sightseeing. Sometimes we need a vacation from our vacation. Here are some ideas for how you can intentionally practice self-care for your mind, body and soul while travelling. Before long, you’ll be back on the move and feeling refreshed.

1. Stop planning and spend days doing “nothing”

It feels natural to plan every single move when you’re on the road, and questions about transportation, food, accommodations and more run through your mind constantly. But try to clear this default planning every now and again and take it easy. Go to bed early without setting an alarm and sleep in. Stay in for the day or go wandering around without a plan. When you feel like you need a longer break, consider waking up with no plans and no schedule. Whether it results in sipping coffee and reading a book or not leaving your hostel bed, having a day with no agenda will do wonders for your mind and body.

Take time for you and relax while travelling

2. Get active

It may feel like you’re getting a workout with all of the walking and exploring you’re doing, but sometimes our bodies need more. Wake up earlier to go for a morning jog or search for a nearby yoga studio. Even doing some stretches in the morning can be re-energizing. Alternatively, find an activity specific to a place that is simultaneously active, such as kayaking, trekking or rock-climbing.

3. Treat yourself to a spa day

Kick back, relax and treat yourself to some pampering. Just as a spa treatment back home is a nice luxury, so it is when on the move. Having a spa day is a good way to take some time to slow down. Going for a massage or pedicure not only feels good and relaxing, but forces you to stay in one place for a while.

Doing a spa day while travelling

4. Do something creative

A fantastic, therapeutic act of self-care is anything that fulfills your creative side. While travelling, it’s easy to get swept up in the activities happening around you that you forget to enjoy things outside of that. When we engage in something that expresses ourselves, we are fueling our souls with inspiration and self-awareness. For some that may be writing a story, singing a harmonious melody, or painting. Whatever it is, carve out some time to do it for yourself.

5. Call a family member or close friend

With the constant coming and going of new friends while on the road, it may sometimes feel tiring to have to introduce yourself to new people, and this in turn can feel lonely. Alternatively, it may feel weird to rant about how you’re feeling to your new hostel bunkmate. Have a Skype session with someone who knows you really well, such as a family member or close friend and just talk to them about how you’re feeling, share funny anecdotes and find solace in a familiar voice. Surely, they’ll be equally as happy to hear from you!

Self care while travelling: call your family

6. Read or watch your favourite movie

When’s the last time you curled up with a good book or re-watched your favourite flick? Cozy up early for the night and read that book you have been neglecting for a while, or watch a new comedy special for a good laugh. Taking the time to do any of these will be a welcome favour to yourself after non-stop planning and new surroundings.

7. Do something familiar

Travelling goes hand in hand with trying new things and breaking out of our comfort zones. But after a while, this can be quite taxing on our souls. It’s okay to crave the comfortable and familiar. Maybe you realized there is a recognizable chain or restaurant in the city you are visiting. Or perhaps you want to go see the latest Hollywood blockbuster in the cinema. Partaking in something that is familiar or reminds you of home is like instant comfort food for the soul.

Do something familiar when travelling

8. Get out in nature

Nothing quite makes the mind, body and soul feel as connected and at peace as the outdoors. Being out in nature is so good for our mental health. Find the nearest body of water and just sit by it or go for a cooling swim. Scope out a nearby forest and go for a hike to soak up some fresh air. While you’re travelling, find time to be out in nature whenever you can, but especially when you’re feeling more stressed or overwhelmed.

9. Enjoy everything in moderation

This means sweets, alcohol, fast food and even coffee. It’s tough to say no to that bar-crawl or late-night deep-fried goodness, but if you’re tuckered out from travelling, these things won’t help. When you’re feeling particularly sluggish and tired, it's time to take a break from partying too much and then waking up and chugging that espresso. Swap the booze and fast food for more water and vegetables. You’ll notice a swift turn-around in your energy.

Eat good food to take care of yourself when you travel

10. Relax and reflect

At the end of the day, one of the biggest acts of self-care is enjoying the present moment. If you’re moving too fast or planning too far ahead, it’s easy to forget the purpose of what you’re actually doing. Invest in a journal and write down all your thoughts. When you take time to appreciate and reflect on the moment and the experiences you’re having, it’s a simple, yet powerful reminder of the transformative impact of travel and the lessons you’re learning.

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