How to Handle Motion Sickness Like a Pro

The Sea Cliff Bridge, New South Wales, Australia

There is nothing worse than finally getting out of your house only to suffer from motion sickness in a vehicle. It can add extra stress to a journey and really take a toll on your body. 

Some of my tried and true ways of dealing with motion sickness involve engaging all of your senses and distracting them. The goal is to relax the body as much as possible, even if that means completely zoning out.

  • Always travel with someone you trust to drive safely. We don’t need to feel stressed about the driver or their driving skills as well as feeling sick.
  • Imagine moulding yourself into the seat and feeling at one with it, and going with the flow of motion. Trying to resist each movement only causes more jerky reactions in the body and additional stress. Let your body feel heavy and relax into the flow.
  • Car seats aren’t always ergonomic, so if you need extra support, get creative to get comfortable! I have used a scarf for extra lumbar support, a towel on the seat if it’s too deep, and a travel neck pillow to rest my arms on. Which leads to…
  • Taking regular breaks and get out of the car and stretch. Breathe in deeply the fresh air and find some nature. Knowing when and where the breaks are coming up in your journey can make the journey feel more manageable, like stepping stones rather than one big jump. 
  • Look: Focus on the middle distance and horizon in front of you. Look forward and gently track where you are going with a softened focus. Moving your head about and looking down is not a good idea and can increase symptoms.
  • Listen: distract your mind with an enchanting audiobook! I have found that long format audio like audiobooks or long podcasts are much better at keeping my attention than music or short podcasts (anything under 15mins). Regular interruptions like song breaks can break your focus and draw your attention back to the motion sickness. It can take some time to ease into focusing solely on the story and once you settle into it, you can feel transported into another world and forget the motion sickness. It is almost like the opposite of mindfulness where we become so distracted and zoned out that we don’t notice what our body is doing. Our body relaxes and the symptoms lessen too!
  • Smell: essential oils like eucalyptus and peppermint are wonderful at easing motion sickness symptoms. The strong scent is great to refresh the space and clear the head. They are now available in small roll on bottles which are fantastic for travel.
  • Cold water and food: refreshing cold water and a few simple snacks are always good to have on hand. I find that when I am traveling in winding, mountain roads my ear pop and my head pressure feels intense. I start chewing mint gum a few minutes before getting to these parts of the trip. The mint scent in the gum also helps like the essential oils, and stops you from clenching your teeth.
  • Feel the fresh air or air con in your face: it will keep you alert and quickly reduce the symptoms if they suddenly increase.
  • Acupressure bands: I’m not sure if these work well for me but I’m not willing to try a long car trip without them to find out. They work by pressing on an acupressure point which eases symptoms. 
  • If flickering light is an issue for you, plan to travel during times of the day when it is less likely to occur, like midday.
  • Medication: if needed, it can help quite a lot. Please speak to your doctor before using it and to find out which one is best for you.
  • And finally for insurance for the worst case scenario, have a few plastic bags in the car within reach but make sure they are hidden out of sight. Out of sight means out of mind and that’s our goal!

Feel free to experiment with these tips to find out what works for you. If you discover any new ideas, please leave a comment below – I would love to know!

Take care Readers, I’ll keep the light on. 

Bald Hill Lookout, Stanwell Park, New South Wales, Australia

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