4 Ways Traveling Impacts Your Mental Health
Breathtaking visuals stay in the minds of travel enthusiasts for years after the trips are over. Images of exquisite animals roaming the African plains, picturesque blue waters in the French Riviera, and mounds of fresh powder in the Swiss Alps have a way of resonating and remaining with you.
The health benefits of travel and disconnecting from daily stressors are real, so a vacation isn’t just about a change of scenery. Studies show that even a short getaway can lower stress levels — an important point to consider with employee burnout on the rise.
Booking a flight for Mexico or boarding a ship for the Caribbean are great sightseeing adventures. More than that, the mental health benefits of travel can shake you loose from the rut of your daily routine and reconnect you with yourself.
How Travel Boosts Mental Wellness
COVID-19 highlighted how not prioritizing mental health adversely impacts nearly every aspect of daily life. There’s a link between psychological and physical health. Physical manifestations of depression and anxiety can run the gamut from minor ailments to more serious, lifelong conditions. When low moods strike, it’s all too easy to avoid normal social activities or argue with loved ones without realizing it.
When burnout impacts productivity or relationships, what can you do differently to improve your mental health? Sometimes the best way to get out of a negative mindset is to explore something — or someplace — new. Here are four reasons travel is good for you and could be just the catalyst for that mental reset you’ve been needing:
It can help in curing burnout.
The first step in reducing stress levels is separating yourself from workplace demands. Many Americans don’t prioritize vacation, especially since March 2020, but finding that time to mentally reset can be a lifesaving decision.
Travel is a perfect way to disconnect. Fight the urge to purchase internet access during travel times. Instead, grab your beverage of choice and embrace vacation mode.
It can reconnect you with old (and new) friends.
Human interaction of any kind can improve morale. Traveling is the perfect time to make those personal connections in more meaningful ways. Even a simple dinner out with friends can boost mental health. The energy from a crowd translates into an energy that might be missing after months in isolation.
Another way to connect with others is through platonic touch. Without handshakes, hugs, or pats on the back, it’s easy to feel disconnected from those around us. Scheduling therapeutic services, such as massages or facials, is one way travel reduces stress and brings back human connection.
It can expose you to different cultures.
A vacation is a chance to explore a new culture, especially when it comes to the arts. Strolling through a museum or seeing a play can be an easy way to give yourself a short-term mental health pick-me-up.
This is especially true when it comes to enjoying live music. Going to a concert is fun. Even more than that, it actually decreases stress hormone levels, making it one of the best ways to live in the moment and let the stress melt away during a vacation.
It can force you to slow down.
Quality sleep is vital to long-term health, but high anxiety often creates poor sleep habits. This can become a cyclical problem, given the brain’s relationships between sleep and emotional processing.
Vacation is a perfect time to get some much-needed deep sleep. Activities that release endorphins and burn calories, such as getting sun, swimming, or hiking, make a good night’s sleep easier to achieve. Another benefit? With better rest during vacation comes renewed energy and greater productivity. The mental health benefits of traveling are so much more than immediate gratification.
Bring a New Outlook Home
Travel is crucial for a mental reset. With so many positive impacts on mental health, a good vacation provides the reset we all need. Whether you’re embarking on solo international travel or joining friends for a trip across the pond, the short- and long-term mental health benefits of traveling make any trip worth it.
This guest post was authored by MJ Vogel
MJ Vogel is the marketing director at Xchange of America, which is leading the charge in making foreign currency exchange more convenient and efficient for travelers planning their next international excursion.
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