Why Travelling Benefits Your Mental Health

happy woman on holiday standing in the ocean

If you’re missing your well-deserved holidays in favour of work, you might not be doing your mental health any good. This is something I've done for years- when you work for yourself, the flexibility is great but it can definitely leave you feeling like taking that time away isn't really a possibility. Of course, career is important and in a bid to reach where we want to be, many of us make these kinds of sacrifices- but I've started to see how this shouldn't always be the case. Work yourself too hard and you can end up reducing your productivity or even burning out completely, and in recent weeks I'd been left feeling like I was well on my way to it. Thankfully there are ways you can restore the balance, and travelling is one way you can dramatically improve your mental health. I've recently returned from a four day trip to Holland, and even after just a few days away I can feel such a difference in my focus at work. Scientific research has proven that mental health and travel are connected, and getting away can improve your overall wellbeing. So if you're feeling frazzled then a dose of 'vitamin sea' (or vitamin city, in my case?!) might be just what the doctor ordered. Here are some of the reasons why it's so effective.

Stress Relief
The daily hustle and bustle of everyday life can be enough to stress anyone out. We get up early and don't get to bed until late. We have to maintain our relationships, friendships and take care of our responsibilities all around working full time, and rarely have time to do things we actually enjoy. This  is just the way life is; most of the time it's perfectly fine and manageable but without a proper break now and again it can cause fatigue, depression and other symptoms that can be wearing on the body. Travelling allows you to get some relief from the stress of daily life- you don't need to worry about cooking, cleaning, doing chores or even getting to bed by a certain time. Taking some time out will mean by the time you get home, you'll be feeling refreshed and positive about moving forward.

Reevaluation of Your Life
There’s no better time to do some thinking and reevaluating than when you’re travelling. It not only offers you the time that you don’t have while you’re at home, but it gives you new perspectives too. You may notice things about different cultures that you want to take back with you. Or you might realise that there are things you want to change about your life when you return. Travelling forces you to reevaluate the way you live your life because you’re exposed to so many new things, it opens your eyes and helps you to gain new perspectives. And growing in this way is an important part of life. 

Satisfaction Boost
We all get a satisfaction boost from taking part in things we enjoy and ticking off our goals- such as travelling to new places. I made a new year's resolution for 2019 to travel to as many places as possible, and so getting the first overseas trip under my belt is extremely satisfying. It’s not surprising that many of us are at our happiest when we’re outdoors or experiencing something new; humans are made for exploration, and stepping outside of our comfort zones is something we should all do every now and again. These new experiences help to literally rewire our brains. You could go on student tours as a way to de-stress before starting exam revision, or go on a solo adventure to find out who you are as a person. It could be a romantic break with your partner, or a family break to reconnect with your nearest and dearest. Either way, you'll get a huge boost of satisfaction from spending this time with others or just by yourself. Even the act of planning a trip can give you something to look forward to

Learn Resilience
The world is full of unexpected hurdles, if you don't learn ways to jump over them then it's easy to get knocked down. Travelling is a great way to build up your resilience. Whether it’s learning to get around by yourself or introducing yourself to people you’ve never met, they’re all transferable skills that can help you in your everyday life. As someone who doesn't have a great sense of direction, getting around when I'm abroad is always a bit of a worry. But once you go and do it, you realise it's not as hard as you think. With helpful people (and good old Google maps) it's possible to navigate just about anywhere. Knowing that I can get around in a foreign country now gives me confidence that I'll never really be properly lost now I'm back home! There are plenty of skills you learn when you're away from home and out of your comfort zone, but when you're so busy having a good time you might not even realise how beneficial they are til later on.

Boosts Creativity
Our passions often lie in our creativities. Travelling can ignite those creativities by introducing you to new things; seeing new things and taking part in a different culture can activate your cognitive flexibility. I work in a very creative industry, constantly having to come up with new ideas and at times, inspiration can be low. But spending time away from your ordinary routine will give you the time to explore new things; read new books, watch new movies, eat new foods and much more.  I instantly noticed when I returned home that I had more ideas and the words I wanted to write were coming to me more easily. Creativity often inspires change for the better.

If you're someone who is struggling with your mental health you may benefit from talking to a thrivetalk.com counsellor. Either way, your mental health is important, so make sure you take time to relax and rejuvenate.

No comments