“Happiness is not the absence of problems; it’s the ability to deal with them” – Steve Maraboli. No matter the personality, you will experience moments of anxiety while backpacking. It’s a hidden truth behind all those dreamy social media posts.
I would be lying if I said traveling for 300 days (right after graduating college) was a complete breeze.
Did we have the time of our lives? Absolutely!
But, was is anxiety free? No.
Constantly being aware of a budget, never fully feeling comfortable, and being half way around the world from everyone you know can start to really take a toll on you and your energy supply. This is the price you pay for traveling long term.
Backpacking is not always peaches and cream folks.
After a few months of traveling, stress of the unknown seemed to work its way into our lives and consume both Kyle and I. As a result, we knew it was time to make some changes, but had no idea where to begin.
That’s when I really started to do some research on how we could remove stress from our lives and stay more positive when we were feeling down. After all, it was just us two so naturally our moods reflected off each other.
Most of what I found was that you need to alter the way you begin your morning. The attitude you wake up with is what will set you up for the rest of the day.
So, that’s precisely what we did.
Upon researching, I pooled a bunch of ideas from Pinterest on how we could begin our mornings in a different way in order to maintain a positive and healthy mindset while backpacking. The information you will see below are the habits we established that seemed to be most effective for us. Most importantly, each greatly reduced anxiety.
***I did not create these ideas***
Here are 8 morning habits that are going to change your life:
1.No Snooze –
Snooze became my best friend in college and is a hard habit to break. What you probably don’t realize is the longer you snooze, the more you feel grumpy, not well rested, and dread the start of your day.
Let’s be honest, you never fully fall back asleep and that extra 5 minutes isn’t doing anything for you. Best advice: tell yourself snooze isn’t even an option.
2.Stretch & Meditate –
This was a completely new idea for us. I personally never stretch and my mind seems to always be running at a million miles an hour, so adding this to my morning routine was something completely new and a definite challenge. But, it changed me forever.
This mindful activity improves your circulation and flexibility, get’s your blood flowing, and reduces stress by starting your day with a calm mindset. I recommend starting with 2 minutes of meditation and working your way up each day to an amount of time that works best for you.
3.No phone –
Yep. That’s right, I said NO PHONE in the morning. Start your day with you, yourself, and I by listening to what your body needs. When you open your phone to 20 different notifications right off the bat, you are going to subconsciously stress your body out.
Those notifications can wait and in the meantime you will save yourself from a morning full of distracting thoughts that make it hard to relax and wake up properly. For some people, not having access to your phone could cause anxiety. In reality, that feeling of needing to be connected to the outside world hinders your overall immersion within that culture. Try and wait 30 minutes to 1 hour until you even look at your phone.
4. Breakfast –
Breakfast is the most easily skipped meal of the day and everyone knows it. It’s easy to be distracted, in a rush, or too full from your daily Chocolate Supreme Mocha Frappuccino *Kyle*.
Once you add breakfast into your routine, you will find yourself feeling more energized and ready to explore. We found on the days we were lacking energy, we seemed to be more stressed; eating breakfast alleviated that stress.
5. Drink Water –
You will find while traveling, especially in cities where you are non-stop sweating in the 90% humidity, it is easy to get dehydrated. In short, keep a water bottle nearby!
What you probably don’t know is this can actually affect your mood. Being someone who struggles with anxiety from time to time, dehydration seems to be a trigger for me. So, make sure you are properly hydrating and fueling your body is crucial when maintaining your mental health.
6. Read –
Kyle and I rediscovered our love for reading throughout our trip. And came to find out, it can actually relieve a lot of stress. So, if your feeling like your mind is racing, the best way to start your day is by pulling out a book. For a short time you can soak yourself into a new story and take a break from your daily stresses. This is a great way to keep your mind at ease.
7. Listening to music (but not just any music) –
Choose music that recharges you and makes your morning fun! Kyle and I would blast Spotify while we were stretching, getting ready for the day, and making breakfast. We always left our place with a smile on our face and a song stuck in our head.
My recommendation is to go on Spotify and choose from their mood booster playlists. Such as: Have A Great Day!, Chill. Out. Brain., or Morning Commute.
8. Journaling –
Journaling became a newfound love and hobby for Kyle and I. Not only is this a key way to retain all the memories from your trips, but you can also vent about the thoughts that are consuming your mind. This is a great way to express yourself and take some weight off your shoulders. Leave those stressful thoughts of yours on the pages of your journal and move on!
Being able to take the time to travel is such a blessing. So, the last thing you want to do is waste your time stressing about things that are out of your control. I hope this article gives you clarity on how you can change your morning habits and live a stress free lifestyle.
Comment below with your favorite morning habits and why they work for you!
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