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12 Reasons You Should Travel Alone At Least Once In Your Life

12 Reasons You Should Travel Alone At Least Once In Your Life

Although it’s great to spend vacations seeing the world with family, friends, or a lover, traveling alone can also be completely incredible. A solo adventure has the potential to be life-changing. Here are 12 reasons you should travel alone at least once.

1. You Will Become Empowered

When you realize just how resourceful you can be when you have nobody else with you, it’s empowering. As you discover tricks to successfully navigate through unfamiliar territory and learn how to have a great time without the company of others, your confidence soars. Learning how self-sufficient you are can give you the boost of inspiration and motivation needed to do amazing things in other areas of your life.

2. You Will Cure Your Travel Bug

If you’ve had a case of the travel bug, you know it can strike any time, and the only way to cure it is to succumb to it and travel. You know the feeling when you get it…you absolutely crave to get out and discover new places. When you’re consumed by wanderlust, you can easily argue against more “rational” purchases such as new furniture, in favor of funding your next adventure. When you travel alone, you can cure your travel bug as soon as you’re afflicted; you don’t have to wait for others to clear their work schedules and book flights. If the travel bug strikes and you’re prepared to go alone, you can leave whenever it’s convenient for you.

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3. You’ll Learn To Thrive Outside Your Comfort Zone

Traveling leads us to unfamiliar places and situations. When you travel, there’s the feeling of being out of your comfort zone, and when you’re traveling solo, that feeling is completely intensified. A solo trip will expose you to a lot of new experiences outside your comfort zone. You may surprise yourself by not just surviving, but thriving outside your comfort zone. Spending time outside your comfort zone is essential for growth.

4. You Will Learn To Be Decisive

When traveling with a partner or a group, every idea can be bounced off someone else. When you travel alone, you will learn to be decisive; you will be making every decision alone. From where to eat, to what time to wake up, to what sights to see, and which airline to use, traveling solo forces you to rely on yours truly. As you realize you can make good choices without help from others, you will likely trust your instincts more, and this new found self-assurance and confidence will be helpful in many areas of your life.

5. You Recharge

Traveling alone will allow you to get the rest and relaxation you desire. When you travel solo, you don’t have to worry about anybody snoring or hogging the blankets. You don’t need to set your alarm if you don’t want to; there are no early breakfast dates with family and friends. Taking time to nurture your mind, body, and spirit in the ways you recharge best can replenish and inspire you.

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6. You Light Your Fire

A trip alone can ignite your creativity. Spending time alone with an open mind can be exactly what you need for your imagination to soar. Your enthusiasm and passion for life may sky-rocket from your awesome adventure.

7. You Will Meet New People

If you enjoy meeting new friends, here’s your chance; you will likely find some when traveling alone. Since you won’t be focused on talking to anyone you know, you’ll be more likely to strike up conversations with strangers. Meeting people from different backgrounds opens our minds, expands our world, and can inspire us a lot. You may meet some amazing locals or other adventurers like yourself; either way you’re bound to make some new friends during your journey.

8. You Discover

Along with discovering the awesomeness of this great big world, traveling solo will give you ample time for self-discovery. When you’re alone, you can give yourself time for reflection, and can really think about what your purpose, priorities, and passions are. Being away from everyone who knows you can be a strange feeling. When it’s just you, you can get rid of any act you put on for others, and you can bare your soul. You and your naked soul can then figure out what really matters to you in life.

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9. You Increase Your Compassion

Traveling alone, with no distractions, will enable you to really see the world around you and make you realize what you take for granted. First hand experience in another area of the country or world will open your eyes to the disparities between groups of people. Along with increasing your compassion for others, your self-compassion may also improve. When you’re alone, it doesn’t matter if you’ve been passed up repetitively for promotions at work, or if you’re struggling with something in your personal life. When you’re surrounded by strangers, nobody judges you for your perceived “failures,” because they only know what you want to tell them. Being alone gives you opportunities to work on being kind to yourself and practice self-acceptance. Instead of being constantly reminded of your “shortcomings”, you can remember why you’re wonderful and deserve to be loved.

10. You Can Do Anything You Want To

When you travel alone, you don’t need to spend time doing anything you don’t want to do. Since it’s just you, you can choose everything. You can decide how scheduled or unscheduled you want your trip to be, visit sites you’ve always longed to see but your family and friends haven’t, and set the pace as fast or slow as you desire. You can be as adventurous as you crave to. You can choose to hang out at the main tourist spots or go completely off the beaten path. This world is your playground, and the way you enjoy it is all up to you!

11. You Will Learn to Enjoy Being Alone…

You just may learn that you are damn good company!

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12. …Yet Miss the One You Love

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Spending time apart from your significant other occasionally can rejuvenate your relationship. When couples allow themselves the freedom to pursue their own dreams and nurture their separate interests at times, they are less likely to feel smothered by the relationship. By spending some time exploring the world on your own, you will hopefully be reminded of why you love your significant other, and will have amazing stories to share when you reconnect.

I love to travel; my travels have been some of the best times of my life. I’ve journeyed away from home alone twice (for 10 weeks and 5 weeks) and have met awesome friends I still keep in touch with years later. I learned about myself, my priorities, and my dreams, by taking time to reflect while traveling solo. Both times, I came home completely refreshed and more excited about life than ever.

Traveling alone can help you realize how strong and capable you are. As with any other adventure, it’s important to do your research and travel safely. Beyond that, pack your bag and go explore! The world is waiting!

Tips to Successfully Travel Alone:

  • Do your homework. Research which areas are generally safe for solo travelers, and which areas to avoid.
  • Whenever possible, explore in the daylight.
  • Tell someone from home where you’re going to be each day. Check in with loved ones at predetermined times.
  • Trust your instincts.
  • Dress to avoid standing out. Now’s not the time for you to be showy. You don’t want everyone to know you’re by yourself.
  • Book your lodging for your arrival night in advance.
  • Update your list of important phone numbers and carry your phone with you.
  • Before traveling to a foreign country, visit a travel medicine physician to receive education and recommended medications specific for your intended destination.
  • Look at the weather forecast. Don’t make the mistake I did and pack a ton of cold weather gear when you’re visiting a region having record highs.
  • Record your thoughts and experiences.

Featured photo credit: Nirvana/ePi.Longo via flickr.com

More by this author

Dr. Kerry Petsinger

Entrepreneur, Mindset & Performance Coach, & Doctor of Physical Therapy

How to Find the Purpose of Life and Start Living a Fulfilling Life Feeling Stuck in Life? How to Never Get Stuck Again Don’t like your job? Here are some solutions. How People Make Decisions That Are Bad For Them How to Have a Successful Career and a Fulfilling Personal Life

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Published on November 14, 2018

Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

Symptoms of Fatigue

Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

  • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
  • mental blocks
  • lack of motivation
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • muscle weakness
  • slowed reflexes and responses
  • impaired decision-making and judgement
  • moodiness, such as irritability
  • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
  • reduced immune system function
  • blurry vision
  • short-term memory problems
  • poor concentration
  • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

Causes of Fatigue

The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

  • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
  • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
  • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
  • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

Medical Causes of Fatigue

If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

Anemia

Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

Diabetes

Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

Thyroid disease

An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Too much sleep 
  • Alcohol and drugs 
  • Sleep disturbances 
  • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
  • Poor diet 

Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

  • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
  • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
  • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
  • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

Psychological Causes of Fatigue

Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

  • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
  • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
  • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

1. Tell The Truth

Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

  • How you feel
  • What time of day it is
  • What may have contributed to your fatigue
  • How your mind and body reacts

This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

2. Reduce Your Commitments

When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

4. Express More Gratitude

Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

5. Focus On Yourself

Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

7. Take a Power Nap

When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

8. Take More Exercise

The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

9. Get More Quality Sleep

To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

10. Improve Your Diet

Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

11. Manage Your Stress Levels

Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

12. Get Hydrated

Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

The Bottom Line

These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

Reference

[1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
[2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
[3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
[4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
[5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
[6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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