Whipple: Change Thinking To Minimize Holiday Travel Stress

By Dr. Laura Whipple DC
Los Alamos

Thanksgiving and Christmas travel by car or air is on our minds and in our calendar. Long lines, higher gas prices inevitable delays are a guarantee.

How do we avoid this stress?

The first and most important step is to develop a mindset that these things are out of our control. Instead we can turn our focus onto the things we can be proactive about. Anxiety and worry will not fix these things so focusing on our personal plan is the healthiest way to move forward.

One of my favorite mantras is: “You can’t control other people or external events you can only control yourself.”

A mindset of detachment, gratitude and positive thinking is simple yet very powerful. Planning ahead of time is another way to feel empowered. Write down your personal plan and put it into place well ahead of travelling.

To help get you started, a personal travel plan may include the following:

  • Assume your worst-case scenario. Mine is being delayed for several days in an airport packed with angry, stressed travelers. I know, unrealistic or maybe it’s not.
  • Based on my first assumption, pack comfort items in a carry-on. Headphones, an eye mask, a small blanket, eye drops, healthy snacks, small neck pillow, a change of clothes and toiletries.
  • Pack playing cards and other items to avoid boredom and to distract you from negative thinking. If you have children, pack things to keep them occupied. Mine loved coloring books and playdough when they were little. I would buy them new and it was a big treat providing hours of distraction. Save the devices for worst case scenario when you really need them.
  • Travel smart by taking the red eye, limiting connections, driving instead of flying and avoiding peak times when possible.
  • When driving, leave early and plan some fun stops along the way. Plan on taking an alternate route to avoid extra traffic. Pack a cooler with snacks, drinks and toilet paper to avoid crowded gas stations with dirty bathrooms.
  • Avoid breakthrough infection and flu by masking-up with an N95 mask, carrying hand sanitizer and wipes. I travelled with a friend who is a kindergarten teacher several years ago and she cleaned all of our seat areas with Clorox wipes. We thought it was hysterical, now not so much.

What matters is having an attitude of gratitude and planning ahead. We are getting mobile again and finally have the opportunity to enjoy the holidays with our friends and family. Enjoy your Thanksgiving celebrations no matter where the wind carries you!

Dr. Laura Whipple has a BSc in Neuroscience and is a Doctor of Chiropractic. She has been in practice for 20 years and has recently joined Dr. Lenz and Dr. Savoia at the Los Alamos Chiropractic Center. Dr. Whipple’s practice focuses on posture and performance using a combination of soft tissue release, adjustments and exercise recommendations. She also coaches patients on self-care and body awareness so they can manage themselves in between visits. Los Alamos Chiropractic Center is in the Mary Deal building on Trinity Drive.