My days in the USA are numbered. That sounds really dramatic, and I mean, we hope to be back for Christmas, but the reality is that I’m moving to a completely unfamiliar country in 6 days.

As someone with an anxiety disorder – albeit somewhat successfully treated – I need to be careful to take good care of myself so that I can really enjoy the opportunities that are being presented to me. Yes, I’m scared out of my mind. But I need to remember that once all that fear passes and the unknown becomes more familiar, I’m going to have the time of my life.

So, I’m working on creating my own self-care package. I don’t want to replace or overshadow the amazing cultural differences I’m going to experience. I’m sure that at some point, I’ll have a German comfort food, a comfort spot, a comfort shop… But for now, and with my brain, I need to bring some comfort with me.

Start by identifying what makes you feel peaceful. We’re going to look at my list, but grab a pen and make your own.

1. A book. Or 6.

For me, a good book is the #1 best coping mechanism for anything that ails. If I’m sad or going through a hard time, I tend to choose familiar books, ones I’ve read and loved. If I just want to distract myself while waiting for news, I’ll read literally anything that’s around. I once gave an ex a week to think over our relationship and I ended up reading everything my mom brought home from the library.

Because I recently drowned my Nook in the bathtub, I’m hoping to pick up a Kindle before I leave for Germany. I’m not one of those people that wants to talk to you about what I’m reading if I’m just sitting in public tryna get my read on, so an e-reader is perfect for me. Plus, it appeals to my need to read RIGHT NOW, not when I have time to get to the bookstore.

My picks: The Wicked Girls (this review made me really curious), the entire Harry Potter series (can’t beat that for comfort)

2. Comfort clothing.

On a bad day, the first thing I do when I’m alone is change into something insanely comfortable. For me, that’s usually a t-shirt or tank top and underwear. For you, that might be flannel PJs or your fuzzy robe. Dress up, dress down, do you.

I was tempted to pack my “best” clothes in my carry on suitcase, but then I realized that I don’t necessarily want to look my nicest while traveling: I want to be my absolute most relaxed. What did I end up with? Tunics, leggings, maxi skirt, tee shirts, and the one hoodie I’ve allowed myself to keep since normally, they make me look about 15 years old. My goal for the plane is to be comfortable enough that what I’m wearing isn’t on my mind. I don’t want to worry about uncomfortable waistbands.

3. Body-care products.

Working at Lush has turned me into a true believer in aromatherapy.

It’s no question that a good shower can turn a day around, and there’s no reason that you shouldn’t have that good shower experience every. single. day. Most of my favorite products are from Lush, but don’t let that stop you from sharing your own, whatever brand they are. (Seriously, tell me in the comments. I’m a junkie.)

I like to have essentially two shower collections: Rev Up and Cool Down. Most of the time, I shower at night to take the grime of the day off before slipping into bed. To relax, I like nutty, berry, vanilla, or earthy scents. No, those don’t all go together, but who’s going to stop me? Ain’t no shower police. Find a smell and a handful of products that make you exhale all the bullshit, and make you shower a sacred place. You’ll step out clean, refreshed, and calmed the fuck down.

If you don’t have time for a shower, a portable version of your favorite smell should help. I have a lip balm that I find very calming (Honey Trap), and you can almost always find a travel size of your favorite lotion.

4. A huggable.

You don’t have to show this kit to anyone, so don’t be afraid to get a little embarrassing. I brought my favorite stuffed animal to college with me (holla at my girl Lydia the basset hound) and it helped a lot on those days when it seems like literally everyone hates you and you’re going to fail at life. Sometimes you just need a good hug, and when there’s no one around – or when you have issues being emotionally available – an inanimate object will do the trick. Don’t have a teddy bear? Let me introduce you to the Amazon.com stuffed animal page. You don’t even need to be seen in public buying one. You’re welcome.

To be completely fair, I’m taking Daphne with me, and she’s counting as my huggable. She’s a snuggle bug, and I can’t fit Lydia in my suitcase with all my clothes, shoes, and body care products. Do as I say, not as I do.

 

What would you consider to be your self-care staples? Any tips for traveling while anxious?