I think a lot of people my age (early 20s) dream of traveling for work. While it’s not something I do often, I’ve been doing a lot of it the past month which has been exciting and exhausting! One thing people don’t acknowledge about traveling for work is the toll it can take on your mental health. When you search travel on any image site….you get luxurious pictures of beaches and relaxation, but that’s not the reality. Traveling can be draining.
If you’ve been following me for a while you know I struggle with anxiety. I’m usually okay with travel anxiety, but I have to mentally prepare myself and get ready to be thrown off of my normal routine and out of my comfort zone. I’ve been flying every week for the past month and it’s exhausting. Don’t get me wrong I’ve had so much fun, I’ve been to some fun events, learned more about my business, and made some incredible connections…. But it’s drained me and I’ve been needing time to recover and focus on my mental health.
I’ve been doing a lot of Thursday-Monday trips for weekend holiday shows & industry events. So while I may work most of the weekend, it’s important to attempt to balance that with some time off. But usually when I take time off in the middle of the week I end up feeling guilty & unproductive. I feel as though I need to be planning content and getting ahead before my next trip. It’s a vicious cycle that can sometimes lead me to mentally beating myself up due to the inconsistency in routine.
With mental health I think routine is important for a lot of people. I’m not saying being constantly scheduled, but having a general idea of what my day will bring. For example I pretty much start out everyday drinking coffee & writing. That kick-start to my day brings stability and gives me a feeling of accomplishment. At the end of the day, even if my day was overwhelming and messy I can reflect on my productivity of writing something new that morning. But when you’re traveling for meetings & events that’s not always a practical goal if you’re flying in late and getting up early or staying with other people!
The cool thing about traveling for work is that these experiences definitely cultivate inspiration and creativity, but finding the time to sit down and harness that can be tricky. I’ve been having wonderful conversations with people of many backgrounds and from different walks of life. I’ve learned more about the ethical fashion industry in different parts of the country and world from my recent interactions. But I’ve been spending so much time on airplanes and trying to catch up on sleep that I haven’t been able to reflect and write. Writing is part of my normal routine and when my routine is thrown off, that also means I get behind on producing new content….which also leads me to stress out more! And I’m one of those entrepreneurs who can’t sleep if things aren’t somewhat in order. It’s a crazy cycle and something I’m not really sure how to handle yet, but I’m working on balancing my mental health while traveling.
In my field specifically, this has given me a new respect for social impact vendors that travel and travel bloggers. I’ve been trying to stay on top of everything, but it is hard. I don’t know how travel bloggers do it?! When you’re gone every weekend and running on airplane coffee? How do you make time to care for your mental health?
Entrepreneurship is a journey and a process. How to manage my business, my personal life, & my mental health has been tricky for me to figure out the past couple years and traveling for business events is something new to add to the mix. It’s exciting, but challenging too! If you travel for work and struggle to manage your mental health please know you’re not alone….and if you have any tips I’m all ears!