Mental Health and Travel: The Existential Crisis Survival Guide
Saying that all of 2020 has been an existential crisis might be an exaggeration. But it might not be. When quarantine started, perhaps you thought “wow! It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to think, philosophize, and just sit with myself. How nice.” Then spring turned to summer, and summer turned to fall, and here you are. Still thinking, philosophizing, and just sitting. The clock ticks. And you sit.
Suddenly, the room feels dark. The meaning of life begins to weigh on your empty heart. You start researching the existentialist philosophy of Kierkegaard. The idea of death becomes a mental oasis from this meaningless life. Are you having a midlife crisis already? Or is this what those commercials mean when they say you’re having “suicidal thoughts”?
First of all, breathe. There are a lot of people having a hard time this year. The first step to feeling like human beings again is to be your own motivator and change your mindset…which is easier said than done. Don’t let your angst turn into a full-blown existential depression. Instead, try existential therapy.
Your existential crisis is temporary.
Okay, what is an existential crisis anyway? We throw the term around a lot, but many people don’t know the actual definition. An existential crisis is a moment when you’re questioning your purpose or the value of your life, and this contemplation has a negative impact on your mental state.
Millions of people in the U.S. are struggling with loneliness, isolation, and the fear of death as they practice social distancing due to the COVID-19 outbreak. If you had a pre-existing mental illness such as depression or anxiety, the current situation may have exacerbated your symptoms. Experiencing some symptoms of existential depression is normal, so don’t worry if you occasionally feel despair. Oftentimes practicing gratitude or journaling will help.
If your existential depression is more persistent, then it may have graduated into an existential crisis, and it’s time to get help. The good news is that in 2020, there are more online mental health resources than ever to help you feel connected. You can video call a psychologist or even message a mental health professional. Ample resources are available to match you with the right therapist.
Your RV is waiting.
Even if you’ve never considered yourself an RVer, renting a motorhome might feel increasingly enticing. Traveling around the U.S. is a great way to avoid existential anxiety, and yes, it is possible during a pandemic. RV’s are the perfect way to feel un-stuck without having to worry about the potential exposure of staying in hotels. Equipped with TV’s, beds, and even a refrigerator, modern RV’s aren’t that different from your normal amenities. Be sure to get mechanical breakdown insurance to increase your peace of mind as you travel. A Good Sam Extended RV Warranty is available for travel trailers as well as fifth wheels, and it also offers RV-related discounts and Good Sam Roadside Assistance.
Your phone won’t help.
Put your phone down (after you finish reading this article, of course) and look at what’s in front of you! Social media can have a negative impact on mental health, so be careful how much time you spend scrolling on your social media account. The best way to avoid social media traps — while keeping up with friends and family members — is to follow more positive accounts. Find mental health blogs and people who tweet their honest emotions instead of just their highlight reel. Taking a hiatus from social media isn’t the only way to keep an existential crisis at bay. Maybe just limit yourself, and then spend more time soaking in the natural beauty of our world from your RV.
Remember that this too shall pass. Your existential crisis will not last forever, nor will this pandemic. In the meantime, it might be a good idea to rent a camper or RV and spend some time in nature instead of on social media. Just breathe, stop googling existentialism, and ask yourself what’s best for you in the long run. Take good care of yourself, and it will get better.