Online Therapy is the #1 Tool for Travelers With Depression

Published on: 24 Apr 2017
depressed man airport red suitcase

I always wanted to travel. In college I attended information sessions in stuffy rooms and echoing lecture halls, for at least five different study abroad programs. I dutifully filled out the paperwork, scheduled doctor’s appointments, even met with the other folks I’d be spending time abroad with. It was exciting. But something always held me back.

My depression.

Traveling opens our minds and keeps us young. Women who vacation every two years have a significantly lower risk of heart attack than women who vacation only ever six years. Men who don’t take an annual vacation have a 20% higher risk of death (30% higher risk of heart disease). However, for those of us with depression, travel can pose many challenges or even make it impossible.

Immersing yourself in an unfamiliar culture –– and actually getting there –– can be challenging. Between long flights and layovers, short connections, cancellations, not understanding the language, being unfamiliar with the cuisine, uncomfortable sleeping arrangements, altitude changes…there are many variables that can pose issues even for the most seasoned traveler among us. Layering in mental illness can exacerbate these situations.

Just because traveling guarantees a disruption of your normal schedule and poses a variety of potential challenges, does not mean you have to abandon your travel plans, give up exploring new areas, or forego trips to visit those you love. There are ways for all of us with mental illness to maintain our mental wellness, while hitting the road.

Many of us who struggle with mental health issues, including depression and anxiety (both of which can flare up while traveling), have found that maintaining their connection to their therapist is key in ensuring a successful trip. For travelers who see their therapist for weekly in-office visits, this of course, poses a logistical challenge. Sometimes you’re able to set up a phone call or Skype session with your therapist, but it’s not secure and — if you’re dealing with differing time-zones and poor cell connection — this may pose an extra headache.

The #1 Tool for Travelers Who Want To Support Their Mental Health is Online Therapy

Therapy in the foothills of a mountain? Therapy while soaking up the sunshine on the beach? Therapy while settling in for takeoff? Online therapy is the perfect solution for people who are on the road but do not want to sacrifice their mental health –– it allows us to text our therapist wherever and whenever we want to.

Online therapy is for the way we live today — that is, for every kind of life. Even, and especially, when our lives are complicated.

Online Therapy is Affordable

Between flights, meals, sleeping accommodations, transportation, and fun –– it’s easy to rack up a huge bill while traveling. Perhaps you’re between jobs and taking that trip of a lifetime, or are taking an unpaid vacation, whatever the scenario, the last thing you need to worry about is coming home to another hefty expense.

Luckily online therapy is significantly less expensive than brick-and-mortar therapy. When you’re traveling light, that’s something to be excited about.

Online Therapy is Convenient

When you’re on the road, your schedule may be tight and unpredictable. Between traveling from place to place, having to coordinate schedules with your fellow travelers, dealing with different time-zones, keeping an actual appointment is most likely not possible.

With online therapy you’ll never miss an appointment because there aren’t appointments. You can message your therapist on your schedule, 24/7. Anxious over a particularly unstable leg of your journey? Just message your therapist. Worried and upset about visiting with your ailing family member? Message your therapist. Your therapist will get back to you twice a day with helpful tactics and strategies on navigating these difficult emotional waters. There’s also the option for video chat, if you prefer a more personal interaction with your therapist.

Online Therapy is Familiar

If you’re traveling alone, or even with others, it’s easy to begin to feel isolated or lonely. Oftentimes we crave a bit of home while on the road, something to help ground us and bring us back to what we know. An online therapist help can do just this.

Online therapy is completely flexible and based on your schedule. It can provide a sense of structure or familiarity when you are craving it most.

Online Therapy Is Going to Help

Psychotherapy has been shown to be effective by countless studies and in certain cases more effective, than traditional therapy.

Traveling brings us moments of indescribable enjoyment, but with a mental health issue it’s also hard. But just because you run into difficulties while on the road doesn’t mean your life comes to a stop. It’s important to utilize the tools at your disposal to ease your suffering, help you live a happier, more productive life, one open to new possibilities for connection. Do it for a deeper connection to yourself and the new state, national park, country, culture you visit. Your online therapist will help keep you on track and living the life you want. Online therapy is the #1 tool for travelers who do not want to have to choose between our dreams and our mental health.

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Talkspace articles are written by experienced mental health-wellness contributors; they are grounded in scientific research and evidence-based practices. Articles are extensively reviewed by our team of clinical experts (therapists and psychiatrists of various specialties) to ensure content is accurate and on par with current industry standards.

Our goal at Talkspace is to provide the most up-to-date, valuable, and objective information on mental health-related topics in order to help readers make informed decisions.

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