This post comes after a trip to Thorpe Park. Unless you’re from another corner of the globe (which would be pretty cool) or have been living under a rock, you’ll know it’s a theme park in England. After the initial excitement of spending the day at a theme park, that familiar sense of panic set in and I started to feel sick. My temperature went up and the hoodie I was wearing became tight and too hot, my heart rate became faster and I thought I might either faint or throw up almost as we turned into the car park. Yes, a few of these symptoms are pretty normal, but the only time I’d been to Thorpe Park before was for a birthday celebration and the day had been a very good one. Nothing bad had happened and I was really looking forward to returning. I was also bringing a very close friend, and was fully prepared before I left; there wasn’t anything to be worried about. So, with the intention of helping people who might find the idea of going out for the day incredibly stressful and also helping myself in preparation for the future, I’m writing this list that will incorporate everything you need for a day out (depending on where you go).
I always make a list of things I’ll need for holidays, school trips and days out; it prevents anything important being forgotten and you can feel definite that everything you need is packed. My individual technique is to write a quick draft of any activities that will take place and everything you’ll need for those activities; for example, for Thorpe park, you’d need money, your phone, coins for an emergency locker, and a coat with several zip-up pockets that would ideally be warm yet not too heavy or big. Those would be the bare minimum of things you’d need to pack, but alternate things you’d want to bring would be some snacks, water to avoid paying for it, tissues, headphones, and anything that would help make the time you spend waiting in queues seem less, well, long. Of course, my dad drove us there so we didn’t need to worry about anything like petrol, emergency money or anything that an adult would need but only provisions for the actual trip. For other holidays or longer stays, I find this activity might be more effective as you can plan ahead for things such as night stays – toothbrush, toothpaste, makeup, skincare, water bottles, pyjamas and money, etc. However, try it quickly and make a short draft of any possible events to check you have all mandatory equipment.
Although it wouldn’t be ideal forgetting something such as a water bottle, there are worse things than paying a small fee for another one. However, things that could potentially ruin a day trip would be being in the wrong mind frame; anxiety can spoil things by taking over your mind and making you worried beyond comprehension, or playing at the back of your mind and preventing relaxation. If I know I might be doing something such as going on a rollercoaster, I’ll mentally prepare for this with a few techniques I use frequently. Put things into perspective; what would be the worst thing that could actually happen? Yes, maybe there would be long queues, or it could rain, but in reality, the ride won’t crash, no one will die, and you won’t end up in the hospital. Other things such as dealing with busy and potentially claustrophobic crowds should be thought and dealt with before, so there aren’t any nasty shocks when you arrive. Always expect the best and prepare for the worst to make sure you’re ready; I do this frequently before a holiday or big trip as it gives me time to calm down and prepare for things and avoid any panic attacks.
Make sure you’re ready – no last minute rush for you! Even if you’re going somewhere that doesn’t necessarily have an exact list of things you will 100% need, I still use this tip to reassure myself I’m ready. Start collecting your things a few days to a week early depending on how important the event is, and ensure you have all you need by adding to this pile when you remember another thing. I often find this tip allows me to properly charge my portable chargers so my devices are always kept topped up – it’s very useful and definitely saves you that early-morning panic!
This is only really possible if you are going with other people, but you can make a big difference by only saying a few words. I find that mentioning that I might be feeling a bit anxious or stressed before or during a trip with my friends really helps, and it means there’s no confusion between simply being quiet and being anxious. Secondly, warning your friends or whoever you are going with that it is potentially an activity that could cause anxiety means it’s out in the air and you don’t need to keep everything to yourself, which I find can lead to extra anxiety. If they’re good friends (or family) then they will ask if there’s anything they can do, and if there are certain things they may be able to do that you know will reduce your anxiety then suggest them. No, your friends and family are not responsible for being your counsellor, but a few small changes can always be made and sometimes the small things really alter the mood.