This is a blog post that I’m writing right now because it is exactly what I am going through. I have one of the biggest trips coming up next week and you can only imagine the anxiety seeping through my brain cells right now. If you’re one to have pre backpacking stress – it’s completely normal, you’re not alone on this…I mean your literally jumping into a foreign place with a limited amount of resources constricted within a backpack!
What does pre backpacking stress feel like? How I like to describe is like for example, think back to school when you had a huge presentation coming up. And your sitting through the next 5 peoples presentations before it’s your turn. I don’t know about you but literally the most stressful part of the whole presentation itself is the moments before you go up. Then after that when your up there doing the presentation you ease up and realize why the hell were you even stressed out the first place?
You have all the material, you are as prepared as you can be up while sitting through the 5 other people’s presentations meaning your anxiety and stress really has no affect on helping you be more prepared for this yet we will still feel stressed. The answer is that its the anticipation. It’s a feeling that is really hard to subside because you are trying to prepare for what’s to come in the future as best as u can.
It goes with the same as your pre backpacking trip, you are mentally and physically prepared for this, your backpack is packed, you really don’t need to plan much at this point, but you subconsciously worry about the little things that wouldn’t really change anything when you’re on the trip itself because you KNOW this stress is only temporary.
Here are some things I really wish I did this week to cope with this type of stress:
1) Find your Balance
Of course before you are heading off, you want to spend as much time as possible with your friends and family, especially if your backpacking for a long period of time. In my case because I jam packed my last week dedicating it to seeing every single person one on one, I completely drained myself with social interactions the whole week. I needed a balance between yes spending time with other people before I leave, but I also needed time to have my me time. What happens when you don’t find balance? You put your well being at risk and feel awful. Your friends and family that truly understand you will know what your going through if you don’t feel good to meet up. What is the point in spending time with someone if your not in the right state of mind and are literally forcing it. You can really do so much… and I think the most important thing is to yes work with the time you have but also finding the balance with what you can do with it efficiently.
2) Making a Check List
I found that compiling a hand written check list of what I had to do on each day like mini tasks really helped keep me focused or to take my mind off the anticipation for what’s to come. When you limit your goals for the day, you’ll feel motivated as you tick off your checklist through out your day – a sense of accomplishment. You’ll also feel a lot more organized with tasks you have to accomplish before your trip instead of feeling like you have everything you have to do without any time left. “Limiting your goals takes the overwhelm away and keeps you focused” says Sarah Knight author of Get Your Sh*T Together.
3) Outlet for Stress Release
It is SO important to do more of what you love. The power of literally just dedicating one hour of your day to something you love doing or have been really wanting to do will have a huge influence on your well being and your entire day.
Whether it be playing soccer, starting that DIY project you wanted to start, reading a chapter of your fantasy novel, baking desserts,… it doesn’t matter what it is, it is what you love to do, is your outlet to stress relief, and makes you happy which you should never for a second put on the back burner. Even on a day you feel like you have to get a lot done and have “no time” for that 1 hour, you probably wouldn’t feel productive or motivated that day if you wanted to save that 1 hour to work. So it would be to your benefit to take that 1 hour and feel awesome and great ready to take on life and be productive the rest of your day.
My outlet for stress is writing. This is the blog post I wrote as my ‘me’ time!
I truly do believe that every person needs at least 30 minutes of exercise everyday. I beleive it is also scientifically proven to be healthy for us give or take the time for being physically active. It’s keeping your blood flowing through your body, your heart rate up, and you’re finally off your butt after spending hours on hours sitting in the same position.
Even minor dehydration can affect cognition, alertness, and concentration. Studies also show that small bursts of exercise – say 10 to 20 minutes can make you feel sharper according to Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism.
5) Confronting your Emotions
I think it is very important to understand what you are feeling, accepting the way you are feeling, and embracing what you are feeling. It’s very difficult to do this because we can easily just push these thoughts and emotions to the side in hopes to make them disappear with time. What happens will be a build of all these emotions that you pushed to the side to be built up upon more and more emotions until you completely breakdown.
It happened to me just yesterday. I’ve been pushing all my feeling to the side and concentrating on what I had to get done which I then broke down in the backseat of my friends friend car that I met for the first time. And you know what, I needed that because I finally owned up to what I’ve been feeling and confronted it head on.
Own these emotions that consume you because as Sue Rasmussen says, author of My Desk is Driving me Crazy, “Most people ignore what they’re feeling and think if they buckle down and muscle through their day, they’ll be fine. But if you admit to what you’re feeling, you’ll move it past it more easily”.
To all my friends that are going through pre backpacking stress, or stress in general. I just want to let you know that everything will be okay. You will be okay. Be happy, love yourself, and enjoy the ride through life. I believe you will get to wherever your heart chooses to be, you will find your way. All the Best xx