Sometimes, the best thing you can do for yourself is take a vacation. The stagnation of workaday life, with its sameness, its stresses and obligations, can leave you feeling depressed or anxious. It isn’t so much an isolated incident – a rough patch in a relationship or a personal failure at work – but an accumulation of stress and a lack of excitement.
Traveling has the power to fix that. According to Psychology Today, research has shown that travel does wonders for one’s mental health. Not only that, but it’s probably the most fun way to take care of yourself – the only remedy that lets you skip work, breathe some fresh air and see exciting parts of the world.
How exactly does travel accomplish the feat of lifting our metal state? As it turns out, it does so in a number of ways.
It Removes You From Your Daily Rut
Perhaps most obviously, travel is beneficial to your mental health because it resituates you. Routine can be a double-edged sword: on the one hand, it allows you to systematize and compartmentalize your life, but on the other hand it can leave you feeling woefully under-stimulated and, frankly, bored. Travel is a potent, natural stimulant – just the shot in the arm you need to get out of a rut.
It Makes You Active, Physically and Mentally
Physical activity has been proven to have an appreciably positive effect on mental health. Not only are the chemical endorphins great for the brain, but the ensuing sense of satisfaction can also be important to your overall feeling of self-worth.
When you travel, you have no choice but to be (at least a little) active. When you travel, walk around and take in your new locale; pack your merino wool clothing to wick away the sweat, and enjoy the feeling of unencumbered activity.
It Lets You Soak in the Sun
Occasionally, improving one’s mental health is simply a case of getting a bit more outdoor time. With modern work the way it is, many people are confined to a desk for the daylight hours, and, subsequently, don’t get enough vitamin D, especially in the winter months. To fix that, take a trip somewhere warm, and soak in the stress-free sunshine.
It Helps Relieve Stress
Work, family (especially around the holidays), and everyday obligations, together can heap on a lot of stress. It can be hard to shake this stress off if you stay at home, but when you travel, it’s easy to leave those stressors behind. Vacations are often premised on self-care – your only obligation is to feel as comfortable and happy as possible – so it can be a powerful tonic against the tensions of regular life.
Ultimately, a trip will be whatever you make of it. If you’re craving communication, a trip can be a great way to socialize with strangers and meet new people. If you want to just tune out, a trip can be a great opportunity for personal self-reflection. The bottom line is that travel has brilliant benefits for mental health.