• Aby Deal

Safe Travel for Mental Health During A Global Pandemic

I think we can all agree, we have all had to step out of our comfort zone this year. We have heard a lot of people say the words “the new normal” and “unprecedented times” more now then any other year. We have also seen a lot of people struggle, with the adjustments to working from home, extroverts struggling with the lack of physical touch, and social engagement during the peaks of quarantine, and mental health issues are on the rise. Perhaps people who have never experienced mental health issues, like depression ,or anxiety now experiencing depression and anxiety because of the level of tragedy we’ve seen in 2020 – loss of jobs, businesses closing, loved ones passing away on top of the every day issues that still arise like racial injustices, and more so during an election year the political climate is especially tense. One common element we have all seen and heard through the nation is the need for more mental health resources and the call to action to focus more on our own personal health physically and mentally while we quarantine.

I was thrilled to see the World Health Organization highlighting the need for Mental Health resources during a pandemic for World Mental Health Day this past Saturday. I plan to talk more about Mental Health Resources in an upcoming blog but I wanted to tell you guys what's been working for me to get through these chaotic times. I talk very openly about being in therapy and using mental health tools to unwind, but was recently blessed to have an opportunity to utilize a self care weekend and experience my first travel trip during COVID.

I am grateful to share that I had the honor of celebrating World Mental Health Day from an beautiful ocean front room, in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. A special thank you to Vacation Myrtle Beach and Sea Watch Resort Myrtle Beach for making this happen and understanding the importance of highlighting mental health during a global pandemic. This was my first break away from my job here, and life in Gainesville, to really sit back and reset.

This year has been trying, challenging, and at times draining, moving to an new town in the start of a pandemic, starting a new chapter and life, but at the end of the day, a beautiful opportunity to grow and reflect and really slow down and refocus my own goals. I realize now more then ever the importance of taking a break when needed. I was worried about taking an vacation in the middle of a global pandemic, but at this point we’re all adjusting to the new normal, and finding ways to stay sane within them. I was grateful to see the Sea Watch Resort was really putting in care to make sure their patrons were protected, enforcing the mask regulations for the city, on property, and providing hand sanitizer around the property as well as plexiglass barriers between staff and hotel guests.

A long time friend was able to join me for this beautiful weekend. We were just a short walk to the beach, where the beach was fairly empty through the weekend and truthfully if we were really concerned about being too close to people or in restaurants around town, we had a beautiful kitchen, to isolate and the view from our room was gorgeous. I was actually able to host a virtual guided meditation right from our balcony area overlooking the beach, with Rachel Otis therapy on Saturday morning. The live session is available on my IGTV series now. That evening we ventured out and saw the view from the Sky Wheel, where we were able to enjoy this with just the two of us in our carriage, as the sky wheel never partners together anyone who isn't in your party, and disinfected between each ride. Sunday we decided we would simply do, absolutely nothing and enjoyed a day of relaxing poolside, playing resort bingo, and going back to the beach periodically and ended the evening with an easy to cook meal from Publix ready meals, right from our room.

I realize that mental health vacations aren’t realistic for everyone right now but I can say wholeheartedly this was my first opportunity to allow myself to shut off from the world, and really invest some self care into my own mental health needs and the time spent was well worth it. We get so busy with life sometimes, that we forget that the new normal should also include, taking care of yourself mentally.

My advice bullet points for traveling during a pandemic:

· Wear your mask

· Social Distance where you are able

· Do your research before you go

· Do what is best for you- if you want to isolate, find a room and hotel that allows you to do so safely while still being able to enjoy the experience and the view of your location

· Set your phone down for a little bit, when you get there and just EXIST!

Thank you again to the beautiful Sea Watch Resort for hosting me and my friend this past weekend, this was really such a blessing and I was thrilled to see that we CAN have safe, vacation breaks, during a global pandemic.. Scroll down to see a few highlights from our trip or head over to my Instagram for live updates on my highlights from during our stay!

Vacation Myrtle Beach

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