Therapist Recommended Items To Relieve Your Anxiety When You’re Away From Home

Therapist Recommended Items To Relieve Your Anxiety When You're Away From Home

You don’t have to be a homebody to feel homesick when you’re away. Whether you’re traveling for work or going to college, it’s common to feel a certain level of stress when leaving the house for long periods of time, says Yusra Aziz, a Pennsylvania-based psychotherapist and founder of Our Healing Vision Counseling.

“When many of us think of the ideal of ‘home,’ we think of feeling comfortable, familiar, and safe,” Aziz told HuffPost. “Going away for a period of time might be filled with a lot of layered feelings. Even with all the planning in the world, there is often an element of the ‘unknown.’”

Tania Czarnecki, a clinical psychologist and executive director of the counseling center at Drexel University, agrees that homesickness is a common experience and affects many people, although experiences can vary. “Individuals differ in the intensity and duration of their homesickness,” he says. If you traveled a lot in your childhood or used to go to overnight camps or boarding schools, he says, you may be more attuned to spending time away from home later in life.

While it’s very common to feel homesick or worried about going to a new place, Czarnecki says that if you’re feeling overwhelmed with anxiety or lonely and isolated in your feelings, she recommends talking to a mental health professional like a counselor or doctor. For students in particular, Czarnecki points out that many campuses have their own wellness center which may have the option for you to talk to someone or offer a safer place for you to relax.

If you or a loved one is getting ready to leave the house for a while, these experts share a few items for you to keep on hand to help with anxiety and homesickness.

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Portable phone charger to ensure you always have battery

As obvious as it may seem, psychotherapist Grace Huntley says your cell phone can help relieve anxiety when you’re away. “A great way to relieve some of the anxiety and isolation that comes with being in a new environment is to remind yourself of your network and connections at home,” Huntley told HuffPost. “Having a digital lifeline can make a huge difference during these times.”

To make sure your phone is charged when you need it, I love, recommend, and personally bought this tiny portable charger the size of a lipstick tube. This has saved me many long nights or odd travel days where there was no way out in sight. As a bonus, you can still easily use your phone while it’s charging.

Headphones for quiet music or audiobooks

As well as a charged phone, clinical psychologist Tania Czarnecki and psychotherapist Yusra Aziz recommend keeping headphones with you at all times. If you’re feeling overstimulated or overwhelmed, experts say, headphones can help you recall, calm the outside world, and let you listen to the relaxing playlists, podcasts, or audiobooks you love.

If you haven’t gotten your hands on a pair of AirPod Pros (left), you might want one before you leave the house. They have active noise cancellation and up to 30 hours of listening time per charge, since the case also doubles as a charger. They automatically sync with your iPhone or other Mac devices and are super easy to take on the go.

For spare/safety blanket headphones, we like Apple’s wired headphones (right) which already have a built-in light plug so you don’t need a dongle. You don’t have to remember to charge or deal with a Bluetooth connection, so it’s always ready when you need it. Because they’re more affordable than wireless headphones, you can buy yourself a few pairs to keep handy, making sure you always have your headphones in your bag, car, or wherever you are.

A set of two roll-on lavender essential oils

All three experts recommend aromatherapy or using essential oils to help calm your nerves and help you feel more present and less anxious. “Aromatherapy works well, and you can find small jars of essential oils to rub on your wrists,” says Czarnecki. “Lavender has been shown to reduce anxiety.”

Based on her recommendations, we found rolled lavender oil that has been pre-diluted with coconut oil so it is safe to apply directly to your wrists.

Journal to express yourself

“Another way to combat anxiety and regulate emotions is to carry a small journal,” says Huntley. “That way when you’re exploring a new place, you have an outlet for any emotions that arise, and a way to process things, even when you’re traveling alone.”

We selected highly rated journals from Amazon that are available in 15 attractive colors.

Your favorite tea (and a kettle to make it)

Aziz says that having low blood sugar can reinforce feelings of nervousness and restlessness, and encourages you to carry granola bars or other portable snacks or treats you prefer if you feel hungry. She also recommends getting into a tea routine and stocking up on a variety of teas, to soothe and enrich your senses. “Tea has been used for centuries by various cultures around the world as a way to calm down and feel calmer,” she says. “Personally, I’m also a huge fan of mint tea, ginger, lemon verbena, chamomile tea, etc.” To really make your tea time special, Aziz recommends bringing your favorite mug from home or a mug from somewhere in your hometown so you always feel connected.

Based on Aziz’s recommendation, we came across this popular electric kettle that comes in a variety of cool colors (including bright green and pink). We also suggest these 40-packs of Twinings teas to find your ultimate comfort blend.

String lights for comfortable lighting

Czarnecki, who works at Drexel University, says that if you’re feeling anxious away from home, the goal is to make your new dorm or apartment feel like a “comfortable, relaxing sanctuary.” He says Drexel students enjoy the string lights in the infirmary at the counseling center, because they’re not as bright or sterile as overhead lights and can be adjusted to suit your mood. We suggest trying these popular string lights from Amazon — reviewers say they’re easy to install.

Floor cushions or meditation cushions

Per Czarnecki, the wellness room at Drexel University’s counseling center has meditation cushions and floor cushions that students love to rest on. Having floor cushions or comfortable seating can bring a sense of comfort to a new space, and can also remind and invite you to take a moment to breathe and process. “Practicing mindfulness and being present can help with anxiety,” says. We like this option from Amazon which comes in five intricate patterns.

A set of Attention Cards

To bring that relaxing zen feeling to the ride, Czarnecki recommends carrying a few Mindfulness Cards, in your purse or purse, to encourage you to take a moment to calm down and breathe if you’re having a particularly anxious day. This beloved deck comes with more than 50 clues to help you bring your mindfulness to it every day.

Easy to care for plant

Czarnecki and Aziz both recommend bringing a bit of green into your new space. “Plants are always calming,” says Czarnecki. “It can be helpful to get something that requires low light and low power, like bamboo, because you’re probably going to be very busy.”

The real cute fidget jewelry

“Jewelry fidgets are great and can be kept private, if you like wearing jewelry,” says Czarnecki. “Worry rings or spinners work by allowing you to spin around one of the bands, which can help you. We’ve given these away before as swag, and students seem to really like them.”

We love this highly rated spinning sterling steel ring from Portland, Oregon-based Jewels Hype. They come in four styles as pictured, in various sizes and are very cute alone or worn with other rings.

Display box for memories and things from home

Czarnecki’s best tips for setting up your new or temporary residence? Think about how many items from your home you want to display. “Ask yourself, ‘Would it be more helpful to have a few items that reminded me of home, or would having some familiar items from home be too difficult when moving from home to a new environment?” If having photos or memories makes you feel even more homesick, Czarnecki says you may want to choose decorations that look good and aren’t sentimental. However, if you’re looking to have a little touch of home, all the experts recommend bringing comforting items with you, such as an old tracksuit t-shirt, a printed photo, a menu from a favorite take-out joint, or other small knick-knacks.

Something like this highly rated shadow box can help you protect and display sentimental items without dominating your entire room.

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