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    163. Travel burnout

    It's important to prioritize your own well-being and happiness, even if it means deviating from others' expectations. Taking time for yourself and embracing the imperfect aspects of your journey can lead to valuable lessons and experiences.

    enJanuary 23, 2024

    About this Episode

    Being able to travel and explore the world in our 20s is such a unique privilege, but sometimes we can overdo a good thing and hit a point of complete emotional, mental and physical exhaustion, causing us to want to go home early, abandon our trip or enjoy our travels a lot less. In this episode we break down the psychology behind travel burnout, why it occurs, what it says about our human need to belong, creature comforts and my tips for overcoming the fatigue and exhaustion and getting the most out of your adventure. Listen now! 

    Follow us on Instagram: @thatpsychologypodcast 

    Follow Jemma on Instagram: @jemmasbeg

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    ūüĒĎ Key Takeaways

    • Prioritizing rest and avoiding travel burnout is crucial for a positive travel experience. Find a balance and listen to your body and mind for a fulfilling journey.
    • It's crucial to acknowledge and prioritize self-care while traveling, even if it means deviating from the glamorous perception of travel. Comparing our struggles to others does not diminish their validity.
    • Don't let social media and high expectations ruin your travel experiences. Embrace spontaneity and cherish the unexpected moments that make travel truly meaningful.
    • Taking time to rest and rejuvenate during travel is crucial to avoid burnout and fully enjoy the experience. Don't feel guilty for prioritizing self-care while exploring new places.
    • Traveling can be overwhelming for our brains, as they are constantly processing new information. It is important to recognize and honor our need for routine and familiar surroundings during long-term travel to avoid burnout.
    • Maintaining stability, routine, and a sense of belonging are crucial for mental well-being while traveling.
    • Recognizing the influence of emotions on our physical health and understanding the contributing factors of travel burnout can help us find ways to address it and improve our overall well-being.
    • Allow yourself rest and relaxation during your trip, as slowing down and savoring the moments can bring as much joy as trying to do everything.
    • Take intentional rest days to fully appreciate your experiences, explore off the beaten path, spend time in nature for relaxation, and prioritize strong connections to avoid feeling disconnected while traveling.
    • Prioritize connections, embrace small joys, address fatigue and negative emotions, make necessary adjustments, and prioritize well-being during travel.
    • It's important to prioritize your own well-being and happiness, even if it means deviating from others' expectations. Taking time for yourself and embracing the imperfect aspects of your journey can lead to valuable lessons and experiences.

    ūüďĚ Podcast Summary

    The Importance of Finding Balance in Travel

    Balance is key in all aspects of life, including travel. Many of us had our travel plans interrupted by the pandemic, and now we are making up for lost time by flocking overseas. However, it is important to recognize the signs of travel burnout. Pushing ourselves too hard and ignoring the indicators can lead to intense exhaustion and negative emotions. It is essential to prioritize rest and take time for a mental reset. Even though holidays and travel are exciting, too much of a good thing can turn bad. This experience has given the speaker a newfound appreciation for those who can travel for long periods. Ultimately, finding a balance and listening to our bodies and minds is crucial for a positive travel experience.

    Recognizing and Addressing Travel Burnout

    Travel burnout is a real and valid experience, even though travel itself is a privilege and can bring many benefits. It is important to acknowledge and appreciate the opportunity to travel, but it is also crucial to recognize and address the negative aspects of it. Feeling exhausted and overwhelmed during travels should not be dismissed or minimized, as it can have a significant impact on our mental and psychological well-being. It is okay to prioritize self-care and take breaks when needed, even if it means deviating from the glamorous perception of travel. Comparing our own experiences to those who may have it worse does not diminish our own struggles. Each person's emotions and discomforts are valid, and it is important to honor and address them.

    The allure and pitfalls of traveling in your twenties

    Traveling in your twenties offers a unique opportunity for freedom and adventure before life gets too busy. This desire to explore is often influenced by the stories our parents told us about their own travels or our desire to break free from a lack of travel opportunities in our families. However, it's important to remember that much of the travel content we see on social media is highly glamorized and doesn't always reflect the full truth. When we base our expectations on these false narratives, we can end up disappointed. Moreover, the pressure to make the most of our trips and the expensive nature of travel can lead us to overplan and miss out on the serendipitous moments that make travel truly special. Taking the time to slow down and explore without a rigid schedule can lead to unexpected beauty and unforgettable experiences.

    Avoiding Travel Burnout: Finding Balance and Rest during Your Adventures

    Travel burnout often occurs when we try to do too much. We feel pressured to follow all the recommendations and cram in as many experiences as possible, which leads to mental and physical exhaustion. The paradox is that the more we do, the less we actually enjoy the experience, and then we feel guilty for not getting the most out of it. Travel is vastly different from our daily lives, where we have time to rest and recover. When we travel, we're constantly on the go, exploring new places, dealing with language barriers, and facing unexpected challenges. This disrupts our sense of self-efficacy, our belief in our ability to solve problems. The novelty of new experiences eventually becomes emotionally taxing. To avoid burnout, it's important to find a balance and give ourselves time to rest and rejuvenate during our travels.

    The Need for Routine and Familiarity in Travel

    Each of us has a limit to how much change and novelty we can tolerate. We are hardwired to crave the safety and familiarity of home and creature comforts. Research has shown that humans naturally need a space that feels safe and normal. Although some rare individuals may not feel this desire for routine and security, most of us will eventually want to return to our domestic environment. It's important to remember that we cannot force ourselves into a version of someone else. Travel burnout can affect anyone on a long-term trip because our brains are constantly exposed to new stimuli. In our everyday routine, we rely on cognitive shortcuts to make decisions efficiently, but when traveling, our brains are in a heightened state of alertness due to the unfamiliar surroundings.

    The mental and physical toll of long-term travel.

    Traveling, especially for long periods of time, can be mentally and physically draining. Our brains cannot rely on the cognitive shortcuts and routines that we use in our daily lives, which can lead to a depletion of mental energy. Lack of routine, sleep, exercise, and familiarity can increase stress and anxiety. It is important to have stability and a sense of normalcy while traveling to maintain mental balance and security. Homesickness also plays a significant role in travel fatigue, as the longing for home disrupts our present environment and can cause physical symptoms. Humans need a sense of belonging and community to thrive, and when that is lacking, it can have negative effects on our well-being.

    The impact of emotions on our well-being and the contributing factors of travel burnout.

    Our emotions play a significant role in our overall well-being, even impacting us physically. When we experience pain or discomfort, it may not always be caused by a physical ailment, but rather by our emotions trying to communicate with us. This is particularly relevant in the context of travel burnout. One contributing factor is pushing ourselves too hard, depleting our physical, mental, and emotional resources. Another factor is the novelty of new experiences, which takes a toll on our brains as we can't rely on familiar cognitive shortcuts. Lastly, homesickness and a craving for creature comforts can contribute to the feeling of unease. If you're experiencing this, the key question becomes: What can you do about it?

    Embracing and Recovering from Negative Emotions in Travel

    When experiencing negative emotions, it is important not to shame oneself. We often feel frustrated when others shame us for feeling a certain way that we have no control over. Travel burnout, for example, can make us feel angry at ourselves for not fully enjoying our trip. However, we can't control our physical and emotional reactions, but we can control how we respond to them. It is a mindset that we can recover from by taking specific steps. One important step is to allow ourselves to have rest days and relax. We don't have to be constantly active during our vacation. Slowing down and taking things easy can bring just as much joy as trying to see and do everything. It is in these slow moments that we may find the most beautiful experiences. So, don't rush through your travels, but give yourself the time to process and appreciate the moments that truly matter.

    The Importance of Rest, Nature, and Connection While Traveling

    When traveling, it is important to take rest days and plan them intentionally. Instead of constantly rushing from one activity to the next, taking a break allows us to truly appreciate and savor the experiences we are having. It is also beneficial to explore outside of the typical tourist areas, as the overload of stimuli can be mentally exhausting. Spending time in nature is another key aspect, as it has been proven to be a natural anxiety reliever and mood booster. Taking intentional nature exposure, such as spending time at the beach or in a park, can provide a sense of deep mindfulness and act as a form of meditation. Additionally, creating routines, reaching out to loved ones, and prioritizing deep connections can prevent feelings of disconnection and FOMO while traveling.

    Maintaining Relationships and Mindfulness for Travel Burnout Prevention

    Taking care of your relationships and practicing mindfulness can help prevent travel burnout. It is important to prioritize maintaining connections with loved ones while traveling and to take the time to journal and reflect on your experiences. Rather than expecting every day of your trip to be life-changing, find joy in the small moments and embrace the beauty of things that may not be incredibly profound. Avoid feeling guilty for not enjoying every single moment and acknowledge your fatigue and negative emotions. By verbalizing and exploring these feelings, you can address them and make necessary adjustments to your travel plans. Remember that it is okay to make changes and prioritize your well-being, even if it means leaving a trip early.

    Prioritizing Your Well-being and Happiness

    It's okay to prioritize your own well-being and happiness, even if it means deviating from others' expectations. If staying in a situation is causing you more stress and hindering your enjoyment, it's perfectly acceptable to make the decision to leave early. Your own needs and mental peace should be valued above others' opinions. Additionally, it's important to remember that people often have a more understanding perspective of your choices than you might think. Taking time for yourself and finding small moments of joy can make a huge difference in your overall experience. It's alright if your trip doesn't meet your expectations or encounters some challenges ‚Äď the lessons and experiences gained from it will still be valuable in the long run. Don't be afraid to break free from negativity and guilt, and embrace the imperfect aspects of your journey. Travel glamorization often overlooks the less picture-perfect realities, so it's important to be more open about these aspects. If you found this episode helpful or insightful, feel free to share it with others and leave a positive rating. Your support will greatly contribute to the growth of the show and reach new audiences. And if you have any feedback or suggestions, don't hesitate to reach out ‚Äď your thoughts are important to us. Stay tuned for more episodes coming soon.

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