In March, the Department of Homeland Security declared the United States borders  closed for all non-essential travel. Seven months later, the borders are still closed, and summer is coming to an end. My hopes to find myself immersed in a new country and culture became the lengthiest travel delay of the century…or so I thought.

I love to travel.

Travel is my escape, my reset button, and the cultural passion to my life worth living. When they closed down the borders, my adventurous spirit closed down with it.  There is something so powerful about travel that helps loosen my tight grip on life and just allows me to relax. 

What I was experiencing during this time was the increased vulnerability to my emotional distress. I needed to reduce this and learn to detour my anticipated summer ‘flight path’ to my present route-no airline tickets required!

One of my favorite skills that supports and lowers distress when you cannot make things better right away is:

IMPROVE the moment

I-

IMAGERY

Imagine relaxing scenes, making a peaceful fantasy world (or even a fantasy trip). For imagery, you could watch some of your dream vacations on YouTube or watch videos of cruise ship tours. Center yourself on a happy time and imagine yourself there. Plan and imagine a future itinerary for travel to new destinations.

M-

MEANING

Find positive meaning in painful situations. Focus on the positives as much as possible in moments of distressing situations. Look at variables, especially during COVID, that some restrictions are to keep us safe and healthy.

P-

PRAYER

Use your own Wise Mind or a higher power to get you through these times. 

R-

RELAXING ACTIONS

Take a nice bath, drink your favorite tea, practice movement/exercise, and mindfulness practices. 

O-

ONE THING IN THE MOMENT

Focus on being in the present moment. This can be done by going for a swim in the pool and just focusing on being physically aware of motion and movement.

V-

BRIEF VACATION

Put on one of your favorite travel sun hats, play ocean sounds on your phone, and take a balcony vacation. Take a trip to your local beach and experience it as if you were somewhere else in the world. Pack a small suitcase and spend a night at a local venue. 

E-

ENCOURAGEMENT AND RETHINKING THE SITUATION

Make your mantra: ‘this won’t last forever’ and ‘I can’t wait for my future travels.’

Immersing in your own culture is one way to get through difficult times of uncertainty. Improving the moment and adapting its skills to your own personal needs and taste can effectively shift perspectives. Our actions, mindset, and attitudes can shift by improving moments of distress when implementing the IMPROVE the moment skill. Using this skill allows us to cultivate new voyages within our new borders.

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