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Before you Travel: Mental Health Well-being Checlist

Growing up in many western cultures enables both men and women to express themselves and their feelings through many means and their appearance is one of them. However, in many countries outside the western world, traditions and strict rules are in place for either personal or religious reasons which forbids men and women on wearing certain styles of clothing or showing areas of the body unclothed.

When travelling or working temporarily in these countries, although these local laws and customs may seem strange to a westerner, it is respectful to abide them no matter your personal opinion. If you do break a law in a foreign country whether you mean to or not, you may find the punishment is far more severe than in your home country and you could get yourself into a lot of trouble, imprisoned or worse.

High Risk Voyager Travel Insurance lists some of these travel destinations and provides useful information on the dress codes and traditions for tourists to be aware of whilst they are there.

However, you should always do your own research on what is and what is not acceptable.

1) Medications

Before you embark on any leisure or business trip abroad, even if you feel well and your condition is being managed or regulated by medication it is still worth paying a visit to your GP to inform them of your travel plans and to have a check-up before you leave to ensure you are fit to travel.

They can also advise if it is safe for you to embark on any excursions you may want to participate in whilst on your trip and when to take your medication if you're in a different time zone. Similarly, make sure you have enough of your medication for the duration of your trip.

It is also wise to confirm if the medication you're taking is prohibited in the country you are visiting. If it is, speak to your doctor about prescribing an alternative or contact the embassy of your destination country before you travel to find out what you can do. Some countries ban certain prescription drugs available elsewhere. So, always check before you travel!

2) Settling In

It is important to allow yourself some down time before, during and after your trip. As mentioned above, travelling can be stressful on the mind and the body. So, don't be too hard on yourself if any of the following affect you mentally or physically more than you may initially realise.

  • Seperation from your normal routine
  • Time Zone changes and sleep deprivation
  • Culture Shock
  • Language Barriers
  • Alcohol
  • Medication
  • Type of travel; Business, Family, Volunteer work etc

An idea may be to try and maintain a regular routine where possible as this will help ground you and help you have control over your new surroundings.

It is also an idea to avoid excess alcohol whilst flying or on your trip and if at any point you do feel your mental health or even your physical health is suffering, seek help or advice from your travelling companions or failing that, local health services available to you.

3) Grounding

Ensure you have all the local 'emergency' numbers and put them in your phone, ensure you pin-point the locations of all the local emergency services and the distance from where you're residing and the locations you'll be visiting whilst in the country. Knowing this information along with having the relevant contact information to hand could help things run a little smoother if the unforeseen was to happen.

Another form of grounding which may help personally if the unforeseen happens and your mental health begins to struggle is try one of the following mindfulness exercises which more often than not, has an almost immediate impact in calming and centering your inner peace:

  • 5-4-3-2-1 Coping Technique
  • This will help you regain control of your mind when anxiety (and other disorders) threatens to take over. For this exercise, the participant must focus on their surroundings and identify 5 things that they can see at that present moment.

    Then, 4 four things you can hear, 3 things you can feel - which can even be your own toes, 2 things you can smell and finally, one thing you can taste. The steps can be done quickly and the effectiveness tool has been widely backed.

  • Opposite to emotion thinking
  • It's exactly as it sounds. Act in the opposite way your emotions tell you how to act. So, when you're feeling upset or anxious, combat that with something calming like meditation.

  • Mental Reframing
  • Mental reframing involves taking an emotion or stressor and thinking about it in a different light. This exercise takes time and practice. So, it may be one to try to get a handle on before you travel. All of the above techniques are suggested by NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) and can be found on their website here.

Get covered with Travel Insurance

Before you head on that business or leisure trip, one of the most important things to remember is to book your travel insurance. This alone will help give you peace of mind by offering protection for you and your wallet from the unexpected!

When travelling to challenging or 'high risk' environments across the world, you'll need a travel insurance product that is designed for these destinations and can offer enhanced protection and extensive emergency assistance which is exactly where High-Risk Voyager travel insurance can help. Even in countries the FCDO have advised 'against all' or 'all but essential' travel!

With a 24/7 emergency medical helpline and access to the 'One Tap Emergency Response' App, Emergency Medical Expenses cover up to �1,000,000, Emergency Medical Evacuation cover up to �1,000,000, as well as cover for PTSD treatment, optional cover for Baggage, Personal Accident or Cancellation / Curtailment and much, much more, High Risk Voyager Travel Insurance can offer peace of mind and financial protection from the unexpected on your next business or leisure trip.

This article is for information and entertainment purposes only. It does not constitute advice in any way. The information provided here is correct at the time of writing however please check the latest policy wording for the latest terms, conditions and exclusions.

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