Thanksgiving is one of the busiest – and most stressful – travel destinations of the year. When everyone around you tries to get to their holiday destinations, it means serious crowds, bumper-to-bumper traffic and delays that annoy zero people.
"Traveling in General May Be Certainly Stressful People and the holidays have a mix of even more travelers, unpredictable weather, and dealing with loved ones," says Simon Rego, Psy.D., chief psychologist at Montefiore Medical Center / Albert Einstein College of Medicine, opposite SELF. "These things come together for people and can make them more stressed than usual."
We do not blame you if you are already seriously stressed if you are trying to get from point A to point B, or even if you are already feeling overwhelmed and distracted. That's why we asked mental health professionals about their best holiday travel tips so you do not have to be emotionally and physically wiped out.
Here are some things mental health experts recommend to help you stay cool this week.
. 1 Make a list of what you need to know about vacation travel.
Sure, almost everyone will say that vacation travel at a certain level causes stress. But the reason why you feel awkward can be quite individual – and identifying your specific stressors is the first step to helping you fight them, Dr. Cheryl Carmin, director of clinical psychology training at The Wexner Medical Center, Ohio State University, says SELF.
That's why it's a good idea to write down all your worried feelings and worries on paper before you travel, Jason S. Moser, director of clinical psychophysiology lab at Michigan State University, tells SELF. Perhaps you are most worried about racing through the airport with your crying newborn, for example. Put this on paper and consider a few solutions, such as bringing your favorite toys with you to distract them, or talking to your partner about your worries in advance so you can plan each other out in a worst-case scenario can support.  "That's called expressive writing," says Moser. "This can effectively" relieve "these thoughts and feelings on paper, make them more concrete, and facilitate rethinking and solving problems." It may even help to throw the whole thing in the trash after you've written it to mentally and physically throw it away, he adds. Once it's on the paper and out of your mind, you can give yourself permission to stop tormenting it.
. 2 Make it almost impossible to forget the most important things on your packing list.
If you know you have to get up at night and worry about forgetting something, or if you go completely crazy and beat yourself up If you forget the precious object, write it down, says Rego. Then put this reminder somewhere visible (the front door, a bathroom mirror). "It's a productive action," he explains.
If you are still afraid to leave your niece's holiday at home, you might even go so far as to pack it in advance in the luggage you know. I'll wear it so it's there from the beginning. "If there is something that overwhelms you and you can do something about it now, do it. If you can not do this, put it on a task list that you want to run at a different time, "says Rego. Here are more logistic travel tips to make the whole process a little less chaotic.
. 3 Try to travel outside peak times if you can swing it.
Crowds can be a great source of anxiety for some people. And while crowds and long queues are quite unavoidable during the holidays, they will be less overwhelming in less popular times or days. So plan your trip on days and times when the crowd is likely to get a little thinner, Rego says, like early in the morning. Or, if your job permits, you should go a few days earlier and work away from your destination to avoid the mad rush that usually occurs the day before the actual vacation.
. 4 Download everything that can distract you from chaos.
Since you may still be in serious body-to-body situations, you should create a Spotify list of soothing songs before leaving the house so you can turn people off, Carmin suggests. If meditation is your thing (and you feel that you can do this effectively, even if others are nearby), download meditations from an app like Calm or Headspace down.
If If you have access to Netflix, you can even download some TV shows, movies, or stand-ups to distract you from what's happening at the airport. But remember, you probably need Wi-Fi to create these downloads. Therefore, make sure before you leave the house. Take it from us, you want to download a lot more than you think you need it … just in case there are major delays.
. 5 If you do not drive drink a beer before traveling if you want.
If you're at the airport or train station and can really stand it, that's fine "Drink a glass of wine or beer before you fly," says Carmin. Of course you know each other better than anyone, so skip this step if alcohol is not for you.
If you have serious fear of flying and feel that you need something to help you get on and then stay calm on the plane and talk to your doctor in advance to see if there is an anti-anxiety drug for you the flight is suitable for you, says Carmin. That is, you do not want to mix alcohol and medications with each other, so it's either a / or a situation.
. 6 Talk to yourself in the third person.
That sounds a bit strange, but it can help. Identify what you feel, but use your own name and other non-ego pronouns like "he" and "they," rather than ego pronouns like "me" and "me," Moser explains.
"What you notice after a while is that you start giving yourself advice as if you're talking to someone else," he says, perhaps you hate turbulence and feel the plane is up Try to say it out loud: Moser says, "[your name] knows that air travel is very safe and even safer than driving. [Your name] knows this will be over."
If you're a vacation driver, you need to be the most relaxed while you're driving – which means you have to set the rules, says Carmin, for example, consider brief briefing with your passengers to them to tell you that you must use your preferred navigation method and do not have to back up Siris, or that you need them all to avoid quarreling while in the car.
Also If the driver can select the music or the podcast – that's how it works.
. 8 Be prepared for delays and conflicts before you even leave.
Remember that (unfortunately) there is a good chance your aircraft will be delayed. Or that you always feel nervous when you are near Uncle Al for a long time. So, if your flight leaves two hours later than you had hoped, or you get stuck in the car with that relative you're having a tense relationship with, you should consider these things in advance so they do not catch you (In addition, you are in an even better mood if these situations do not succeed.)
Knowing these things in advance, recognizing that these could be problems, and thinking about how you are when you handle them "You can reduce some of your fears," says Reid Wilson, director of the Anxiety Disorder Therapy Center and a professor of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine SELF.
. 9 Whatever your preferred method of self-care, do it before you go.
Before leaving, go jogging or take a quick dip. "Do not leave things out to help you cope with your stress," says Carmin. Many people will wipe their regular exercise or self-sufficiency before they travel to save time. However, this can make the difference between stress on the highway or cooling off. Do not forget to bring training clothes and sneaking as soon as you arrive – you'll probably need it sometime, says Carmin.
10th Leave (way) earlier than you think you have to.
This seems obvious, but tracking the timeline is often a big part of why people feel so stressed out when they travel. "If you can do things like packing earlier, you can go to the airport earlier, or get out earlier, which can help reduce the pressure that will make people feel stressed when traveling" says Rego. When you travel with other people, do not be afraid to tell them to turn up earlier than you plan to give yourself a pillow.
worst-case scenario? You have extra time to kill at the airport or at the train station, or you may arrive at your destination by car sooner – far better scenarios than turning into a stress ball because you cut it too close.