Traveling is an enriching experience, offering new perspectives. It is an opportunity to step out of your comfort zone and learn more about yourself. However, traveling can also be challenging, especially when you're away from everything familiar. If you struggle with your mental health, you are not alone.
Here are some travel tips for maintaining your mental health during your stay in Montpellier with Accent Français.
CREATE A PLAN to Manage Your Mental Health
Everyone has different ways of coping with stress and anxiety. Before your program, create a plan that works for you to manage your mental health while away. If journaling helps you process your emotions, bring your journal with you. If speaking with a therapist, family member, or friend helps, create a plan to check in with them while traveling. Discuss your travel plans with your therapist beforehand and create a management plan together.
TAKE YOUR MEDICATIONS
If you're on medication, make sure you have enough for the entire program. Keep your medication in your carry-on luggage, in case your luggage gets lost or delayed. Consider the time difference between your program destination and your home and try to maintain your medication schedule. If you need to refill your prescription, plan ahead. It's always better to have extra medication in case your return home is delayed.
Exercise can help keep your endorphins up and help you manage your emotions. Ask an Accent Français team member about sports clubs and local gyms where you can exercise and meet new people. Exercise is especially important during long-term programs to help you maintain your mental and physical health.
If you're struggling during your program, don't hesitate to speak up. Talk to your Program Leader or an Accent Français team member. They're experienced professionals who can offer a listening ear and advice to help you through common issues that may arise. If you need professional help, Accent Français can connect you with an English-speaking therapist.
If you're of legal drinking age, don't overconsume alcohol while traveling. Overconsumption of alcohol can lead to feelings of depression, guilt, and embarrassment, not to mention disciplinary consequences if you're underaged. It's always better to enjoy in moderation and remember that overindulging can affect your mental health.
REMEMBER EVERYONE STRUGGLES
It's easy to compare your experience to others', especially in the age of social media. However, remember that everyone experiences highs and lows while traveling. Don't be tricked by others who seem to be always enjoying themselves. Comparing your experience to someone else's rarely makes you feel better. Instead, be compassionate and offer a kind smile or a genuine check-in to see how someone else is feeling. It may make all the difference.
A SPECIAL NOTE FOR PARENTS AND GUARDIANS
If you're sending your kids away from home, talk to them about managing their mental health while abroad. Encourage them to speak up and advocate for themselves. If your student is a minor and you have special concerns, have an open dialogue with their Program Leader before the trip. Being upfront about your student's needs will help Accent Français know how to best support them while traveling.
Accent Français wants all students to have safe, healthy, and rewarding programs. If you have concerns about how you (or your student) will manage your mental health while on a program, speak up. Accent Français can guide you through available resources to help support your mental health while having a life-changing educational travel experience!