So here is the issue, I don’t hate London. But crowds, small places like tube stations, and stressed/busy environments make me mildly anxious. London is one of the greatest cities in the world.
Actually this is an issue that I’ve heard a lot over the past few years. People agree that yes, London is amazing but that to be honest, I hate London, I can’t stand London, I get so anxious, and etc.
I’ve already blogged about my relationship with London. But since this week, I’m travelling around London with my mum, sister, and cousin, and I wanted to talk about how to travel in a place that makes you anxious.
So here are some tips that work for my mild anxiety (take it like a pinch of salt) and that may work for you (again pinch of salt—these are all my opinions and this is for mild anxiety. Anxiety can be severe, debilitating and is a serious mental health condition that we shouldn’t downplay).
Take care of yourself. Now this I’ll admit, is a slightly overplayed tip. Honestly though, when you are planning on travelling in London, make sure that you’re eating plenty of fruit and veg, drinking lots of water, and getting lots of sleep before and during your trip.
Sleep especially is important. If you’re like me, you will find that even though people talk a lot about getting enough sleep the day before, it never works. Your brain gets too wired about going to sleep that it never properly sleeps. So aim to have a few early nights before you travel so you are well-rested. Lack of sleep does not help with anxiety.
Plan your time well. Make sure that all of your tickets and essential bookings are done a few days before. Planning is your best friend. Also though, know what you want to do and the kind of travel you like to do. If you want to see Buckingham Palace and Big Ben, make sure you plan for that and all the extra expenses. If you like going where the locals go, then do your research accordingly.
If you think that the crowds in London will overwhelm you, then look up some quiet spots. London is noisy but has a few quiet havens throughout the city. You’re not missing out if you spend an hour reading in Hyde Park, recharging your battery, or spending an extra hour in an quiet coffeeshop. Know your limits and make sure that people understand that as well.
Go with your resources. First of all, be smart about your packing and only pack your essentials. However, go with your mental health resources to help you to relax and stay calm. Bring a book to read in the park. Take your journal to write in a coffeeshop. Have your headphones so you can listen to music on the tube. Take what is helpful.
Speaking from my own experience, if I can push through these things, I am better able to deal with them again the next time around. So when I can, I try to do that. I don’t like being afraid. Although fear runs my life less and less, it still hasn’t gone away completely. But it hasn’t defeated me either.
You can get up again, either by calling for help or doing it yourself. Either way, you can get up again. There is always a little hope.
And with that, I’m off to face my fears of faceless crowds and stuffy tubes, armed with a bottle of water, a book, a prayer, and a couple of big breathes. This way, I can show my cousin one of the greatest cities in the world. It’s all going to be okay.