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Managing Anxiety on Family Vacations

Updated: Aug 27, 2023

6 key methods to lower anxiety & stress on trips with family

Going on trips with family can be an amazing way to bond, go on adventures, and make lasting memories. In the midst of all the laughter and fun, you might also find yourself feeling stressed, overwhelmed and even anxious. This could be from trying to coordinate so many different people, from extended time with your family, or just the general stress that comes from traveling. Here are six key methods to help manage anxiety on your next family vacation.

1. Alone Time

Even though family vacations are about spending time together, it's important to remember that sometimes what you need is just a moment of time alone. If you are beginning to feel your stress or anxiety rising, it may be best to pull yourself away and just take a moment to be in your own space. It can be exhausting always being mindful of what everyone else wants, so it's nice to have a carved-out time of just doing what you want on your own time, even if just for a short time.

2. Vocalize your needs

Being on a family trip means a lot of different voices and opinions being thrown around. It can be difficult sometimes to be heard or to even want to speak up at all. If you notice a plan being made that you know will make you uncomfortable, or it just doesn't sound pleasing to you and it will only make you more stressed, take that opportunity to speak up and tell your family that it's best if you sit out. Maybe even try suggesting an alternate plan in case someone else would like to join you in skipping out.

It's a hard task to be bold and confident enough to voice your needs, and it's okay if you don't do it every time or if you don't get it just right, but on your next family trip maybe just try voicing your wants and needs a couple times to show yourself just how strong your voice is and how important your needs are. Be firm if there's pushback and understand that it may not be what makes others happy, but if it brings you the most peace it will be worth it in the long run. You don't want to find yourself in a bad mental state for the rest of the trip because you just went along with everything everyone else wanted.

3. Make some friends

You might question this one as it's a family trip and the idea of a family trip is to spend time with said family. Just because you're vacationing with your family doesn't mean you have to cut yourself off from everyone else. Whether you're on a cruise or at a resort, you can get connected with other travelers through many fun ways. Hanging out with new friends can also give you a chance to take a break from family time if that's what you want/need. Using your family vacation as an opportunity to get to know people you wouldn't have otherwise is not something you should feel bad for. For all you know you might even find that some of your other family members also really enjoy getting to know other people on their trip and you've helped them branch out too. If meeting new people on vacation is not your cup of tea, no problem (it's honestly not mine), just know either way that you are not just on a vacation for your family to enjoy, you're on one for yourself to enjoy too!

4. Coping Strategies

I've written previously on my top coping techniques for managing anxiety that you can check out for further examples, but using various coping strategies on your family vacation can help you manage your anxiety. Whether it's deep breathing exercises, physical activities, or prayer, setting up a game plan before your trip of knowing and understanding which coping strategies work best for you can help so much once you're on the trip and facing the anxiety or stress head on.

5. Relax

Vacations and relaxing go hand-in-hand. If you're looking ahead at your upcoming family trip and you can only see the worries and the stress, it's time to start intentionally planning for ways of relaxing on that trip. This could look like booking a massage on your trip, or planning some gym time, or even carving out time to read your favorite book.

Whatever relaxing looks like to you, find a way to intentionally plan or even book it into your family vacation so that you already have a plan set up for when anxiety builds up and stress is taking over where you can separate yourself, unplug and unwind. You want to feel like you got to relax at least at some point on your trip.

Now some trips (like trips to Disney World) are not really catered to relaxing but are more about having fun, but that doesn't mean you can't find some way to ensure you have a set time to calm your mind and reset yourself to a healthy mental state. Use the evenings back in your room to reset and do something that helps you feel calm like watching TV or playing a game on your phone. Just try to do something you find relaxing.

6. Sleep

Vacations become busy and jam-packed quickly when you go with family. Different family members continually planning multiple activities for the group. This last tip is crucial, but on your next family trip, make sure you sleep. Not just an hour or two here and there or staying up really late and waking up super early, but, as much as possible, plan for a decent amount of rest each night. Sleep and anxiety often go hand-in-hand. While anxiety can cause troubles sleeping, sleeping can also cause problems with anxiety. I've personally experienced heightened anxiety or being more likely to be triggered due to a lack of sleep. So, when you can, make sleep a priority in the evenings on your family vacation.

I hope at least one of these methods is helpful to you in managing your anxiety or stress on your next family vacation. Beyond that, I hope you have an amazing time and make great memories! If you're planning a family vacation, leave a comment below and let me know where you're headed! And, if you have any tips for how your survive and thrive on family trips, let me know below!

*** Anything written in this blog is based on my own personal experience and not a professional opinion. If you or someone you know is struggling with any mental health issue, please speak to a professional. For a list of some mental health resources and contacts available to you, please download the file below. ***

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Ahsan Khan
Aug 27, 2023


Mind on the Path
Mind on the Path
Aug 27, 2023
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Hello, and welcome to my blog! Thank you for reading!

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