By Sarah A. Lybrand
Covid has changed so much, including how we travel and explore. So here's how to take better care of yourself in this brave new world!
It’s not like traveling was a stress-free endeavor before the pandemic, but now mask-wearing, social distancing, and residual germ paranoia has given even the adventuresome new concerns, logistical considerations — and even more items to pack.
Guidelines, and vaccination numbers, will continue to vary throughout the world for many more months to come. However, there are lots of ways to travel that don't have to feel risky.
Considering many of us are busting-at-the-seams just to get-out-of-dodge, here are a handful of self-care strategies to help make you feel happy, healthy, well-cared for — and safely on-the-move.
1. Mask-wearing, in the wild
Mask-wearing can make travel, and just plain getting around, a little less comfortable and convenient these days. To help:
Choose masks constructed of 100% cotton (one of the most breathable and comfortable fabrics, while still safe), with tie-on straps over elastic. The material is machine washable and quick-dry for travel — which means you only have to pack a couple and handwash them for every-other-day use.
To prevent the dreaded eye-glass fog during reading, flying, or sightseeing, try an anti-fog spray, a wet-or-dry anti-fog wipe, or a nose strip to help seal the mask from above. Don't have any of that? In a pinch, try a band-aid!
Tip: If you find breathing difficult in a face mask, try a drop or two of peppermint or eucalyptus oil on the bottom of your mask to help clear breathing passages. Similarly, a drop of wild chamomile or lavender can help if mask-wearing triggers your anxiety (cut with water and spray on for less intense effect - great for kids!)
2. Connecting, at a safe distance
Keeping your distance from others at an airport, on an airplane, or in a busy restroom isn't always easy, so don’t be afraid to gently remind others to comply with rules, or simply ask the airline if you can move seats, etc.
Plan, also, to take full advantage of the great outdoors! Focus your trip around “earthing”: the practice of placing your body physically on the earth (such as being barefoot in the sand or soil, lying in a field, etc.) to reflect, and reconnect with nature. Regular practitioners report the activity instantly makes them feel more calm, balanced, and less anxious. In other words, earthing is as covid-friendly an activity as you can get!
Camping, staying in a motel (over a busy hostel or hotel), and/or choosing outdoor activities like sports and recreation, over large social gatherings indoors, are also safer ways to foster connection. Even deciding to explore a neighborhood, instead of a specific indoor or historical site, allows for connecting to a new place — but with much less risk.
3. Sanitizing those hands like...
Look for brands you can actually stand (as in, you can actually tolerate the smell), and then use travel-size, leak-free, and refillable containers for on-the-go use.
Better yet, put it in a refillable hand-sanitizing pen that saves mega purse-space and can be used for other liquids too like perfume, anti-fog spray for your glasses, and more.
Tip: Invest in awesome-smelling hand sanitizer. We’re using the stuff often enough — we might as well smell amazing!
4. Fighting anxiety, with care
Sure, traveling post-covid is different than we're used to. Some may even find it nerve-wracking. So, make a plan ahead of time on how you’ll maintain a healthy mood, and lifestyle, on the road. Whether that's figuring out an exercise strategy, mapping out your meals, or simply carving out plenty of time for R&R.
Don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor, either. Many solutions are out there to help keep you calm — like meditation, deep breathing exercises, anti-anxiety medication, and more. Particularly before embarking on a trip, don't be ashamed to seek out coping stragegies: physicians know this has been an anxiety-provoking time for us all!
5. Hydrating (always hydrating!)
This classic, no-brainer self-care strategy pretty much always bears repeating but in these post-covid times, it's more important than ever. Why?
Guess what wearing a mask does to a person? Prevents them from drinking water! Dermatologists also report a bit of a drying effect from wearing a mask aginst your lips and skin all day — so don't neglect this all too important self-care habit (even if it also applies to the whole rest of your life, too!)