My top 3 tips on how to take care of your mental health in a foreign country - Part 1 (Lessons from my South Africa trip)

7:32:00 PM

Apartheid Museum, South Africa (Pic by Thumbi)
Happy New Year, Happy Valentines, Happy Easter, Happy Birthday…did I miss something, oh well that is me trying to make up for lost time. I know I said I would be back mid Jan but couldn’t I am back now…..aaaaaand I am proud to report I had a depression free December and haven’t had a seizure from last year, PROGRESSS!!!!

I hope you are all doing as well as I am, special shout out to everyone who uses the contact box on the side to reach out , will be sharing testimonies (the ones I am allowed to) real soon, I also have so much to share with you but I got photos from a recent trip to South Africa and I thought this would make a good comeback post.

What does travelling do for you? (Pic x Blackberry Classic)

I have shared in the past my top 5 road trip essentials for people with epilepsy and mental health conditions and also how to use the beach environment to promote your mental health if your road leads you to one. Today I would like to give 3 quick tips you can use if you end up going to another country…these tips are additions to the road trip one so be sure to read that post

1.   Plan ahead and Minimize your triggers
*rant alert* I don’t get why we need visas to travel, I just don’t get it but well we do and if you have to go to some countries you have to deal with filling a long(ish) application form then printing stuff then going through a checklist 5 times (at least that’s what I do, 5 times to make sure I have all the requirements) then booking an appointment and going for an interview then waiting to see if you get the visa…who came up with these rules (I know ISIS and all those people make it harder now but wheeew) So since we have to deal with all this, it is wise to start this process well in advance to minimize triggers that can be caused by the whole process and/or last minute rush. I am prone to anxiety attacks which can lead to seizures.

If it gets too much, do not be afraid to ask for help…we are not islands.

Also check things like weather (too much heat/cold can be a trigger), the food to be served (I became a vegetarian – that’s a whole blog post so I have to know what is on the menu),  the itinerary (so that you aren’t taking in too much), conducive environment (will there be a gym or field was one of my initial questions alongside reminding them that I have epilepsy and may get a seizure)
My thing was to sit by my hotel window and watch birds as i did my devotion
(totally love this glass bottle hotel thing, reduces the amount of plastics we have to use) 
2. Assemble your tool box and maintain a routine as much as possible
If doing things as you always have, makes life easier for you, go on and maintain your routine as much as the trip allows. I talked about the tool box in one of my Youtube videos {will soon be announcing a new program I have been working on to support y’all in this tool box assembling journey, subscribe to my blog via the tab on the side and/or follow me on social media for that announcement}

A tool box is basically a collection of things that normally help you cope, carry familiar objects and activities with you; a book, your own music, maintaining your wake up and sleep time (time zones can make this tricky though but try), Skyping with friends and family or updating them via social media and getting their comments can help you relax and feel at home, even when you are away.

The hotel I stayed in had a gym that I found it too crowded but there was this massive field/stadium that made my morning walks divine…like literally God met me every morning. I also carried a devotional book; redoing Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. I also tried as much as the itinerary could allow me to have ample me time where I journaled.
Got to do one of those Red Bus tours and loooved every minute of it (Pic x Thumbi)

3. Most of all, be adventurous and  HAVE FUN!!!
Though I had a tight program, I still got a chance to sneak out and visit Melrose Arch, Jo’burg which my friends is one of those you have to see to believe…just google it. I also got a treat to a red bus tour of Jo’burg on my departure date. Through the program I met some really amazing humans and even though the program was tight, I had loads of fun and laughter and gifts. 

Be sure to update your people back home on your progress and you use simple tools like Social Media updates to let them now you are ok, actually having fun and make them wish they were there.

Would definitely like to be back (Pic x Thumbi)
 Are you travelling soon? How do plan on taking care of your mental health?

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