6. Mental health is super important.
Consistency is considered by some to be the most important factor for stress relief. Vanlife is a lot of things but consistent is just not one of them. Your life is an endless process of learning new routines, which are rarely the same from one day to the next. And let me tell you, it’s straight up stressful, and it’s stressful in different ways than you’re used to experiencing stress.
The stresses of new locations and feelings of displacement can wear on a person, as can being confined to a small space (especially with another person).
This stress is incredibly taxing on your mental health and well being, and unfortunately not enough people talk about it. Instead, you find yourself thinking things like, “Vanlife is awesome, right, so why am I depressed?” which only leads to even more depression. Been there, done that. Over the last nine months, Chris and I have both health with our fair share of issues, from anxiety to depression to really dangerous diet swings in order to achieve climbing weight.
We’ve really had to prioritize healthy eating habits and self care lately, which is hard to do in a van. You can’t exactly pour yourself a bubble bath and soak to the soothing sounds of Enya. Instead, fin what works for you. Maybe it’s taking a walk alone, or binge watching a guilty pleasure show. Maybe it’s getting stoned out of your mind and listening to a new album by your favorite artist (a personal favorite of mine). Sometimes, it might be so pressing that you get yourself a hotel or AirBnB once or twice a month just to have a break from the van.
Find what works for you, but take your mental health seriously. Just because you live in motion, doesn’t mean that shit doesn’t follow you.