Remove the Stress from Holiday Travel

If you believe the lyrics to “Jingle Bells,” people often laughed during their holiday travels.  Today, getting to grandma’s house may be a little more complicated, but there are still steps you can take to help remove the stress from holiday travel.

Try these travel tips and sample meditation to make your trip more enjoyable:

Stress-Free Holiday Travelling

1.  Allow yourself plenty of extra time.  Staying calm is easier when you give yourself plenty of lead time.  Leave the house a little earlier than usual to allow for heavy traffic or any other delays.

2.  Expect to run into snags.  That extra time will come in handy if you miss a connecting flight.  Keep an extra change of clothes with you in case some luggage gets lost.

3.  Pack light.  Yes, I know that’s easier said than done.  But honestly, how many outfits do you usually bring back from holiday, unworn?  If possible, ship your gifts directly to the recipients so you have fewer suitcases to deal with.  Get in the habit of using a single carry-on bag.

4.  Travel during off-peak hours.  Early mornings, late nights, and the middle of the week may be less crowded.  Shorter lines are a great way to reduce anxiety and weariness.

Remove the Stress from Holiday Travel

5.  Start out well rested.  You can manage everything better after a full night’s rest. Try to get at least eight hours of sleep before your trip.  Try and take an afternoon nap if you’ve got a late flight, ahead.

6.  Bring healthy snacks.  Skip the fast food at the airport.  A protein bar or a bag of homemade flapjacks or muesli will give you more nutrition and energy.

7.  Limit alcohol and caffeine.  Take it easy with the free cocktails.  Flying is dehydrating, so alcohol and caffeine aggravate the effects and make you feel lethargic.  They can also make it more difficult to meditate.  Drink more water instead or a stress-reducing cup of tea.

8.  Use portable meditation props.  Airlines generally disapprove of lighting up incense but will welcome less intrusive props.  Bring a string of wooden beads you can use for counting or load a favourite image onto your smartphone or tablet.  Listening to a relaxing podcast is also a good option.

Employ Meditation for Holiday Travel

1.  Get into position.  Sit up straight and relax your shoulders.  Take deep breaths from your diaphragm.  Allow distracting thoughts to dissolve away as you focus on your breathing.

2.  Think about your destination.  Perhaps, you’re visiting friends or family.  Mentally visualise the surroundings and describe to yourself the good times you’ll share.  Think about what may be for dinner, what you’ll talk about and the gifts you’ll exchange.  If you’re travelling with family, imagine the fun things you can do together.

3.  Expand your thoughts to those around you.  Remember that you’re surrounded by people making similar plans.  Think about all you have in common.  Make believe that you’re all sharing a loving and joyous celebration.

4.  Focus on your new holiday mood.  Once you’re feeling relaxed and happy, let go of the details and rest your mind in that warm feeling.  If other thoughts begin to interfere, retrace your steps to bring that positive sensation back.

Remove the Stress from Holiday Travel

5.  Dedicate your good feelings.  Pretend you can wrap up those good feelings in a box and present them to everyone around you.  Pay special attention to those who may be experiencing less fortunate circumstances.

6.  Gradually return your attention to the present moment.  Bring yourself out of meditation slowly.  Take notice of your body and the objects around you while trying to keep a relaxed mind.

7.  Remind yourself of the calmness you felt while meditating.  There may still be lost luggage or missed connections ahead.  When you encounter a hitch in your plans, think about how good you felt while meditating and use those thoughts to maintain your composure.  Consider any mishaps as a temporary blip.  They are just part and parcel of holiday travel and something you will probably laugh about when you get home.

Holiday travel can be challenging, but you can make it easier on yourself.  Plan ahead and use simple meditations to lift your spirits and enjoy more peace of mind.  Through applying these principles and trying different relaxation techniques you will learn which works best for you, to minimise stress and allow you to have the best holiday experience, possible.

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