We’ve all declared “I need a holiday” at some point in life, but this yearning for a getaway may be more than just a shallow lust for beachside cocktails (not that there’s anything wrong with that!)
Travel as self-care
Self-care should always be a priority and sometimes taking a break to both physically and mentally get away from the daily grind is exactly what you need.
Whether you suffer from anxiety, burnout, depression, or another mental health issue – jetting off to explore a new destination can offer a transformative change of perspective. As well as fulfilling your sense of wanderlust and unquenched curiosity for the world around you, travel can completely revitalise your mind and help it to heal.
Not to mention the increasing number of money-saving travel options such as Interrail, Bla Bla Car and Airbnb meaning that travel no-longer needs to be a huge investment
Need more convincing to book that trip?
Here are 5 ways that travelling can transform your mental health for the better:
1. Change of scenery
If you’ve been struggling to find motivation, you’re stuck in a rut, or you’ve just come out of a relationship, hitting the pause button to go travelling can be the perfect way to have a complete reset and start afresh. The Eat-Pray-Love cliché is a thing for a reason!
A simple change of scenery can be just the antidote to that all-consuming apathy and hard-to-shake off glumness we all, unfortunately, know too well.
Staying in one place and doing the same thing every day can often make you feel trapped both physically and mentally. So switching up your daily routine and location by jet setting off somewhere new will stimulate your mind, boost your happiness, and energy levels.
2. Mood booster
Travelling for pleasure typically makes most people happy – as it is an enjoyable experience in itself, exploring a new place and diving into new experiences. Some studies show that travel can even help you to overcome depression.
But the dopamine-inducing effects of your jet setting don’t end once you arrive back home – our tendency to look back at memories of previous travel means that the joy from the trip can be relived any time you want, and leave us with a long-lasting high.
3. New Perspectives
Sampling new foods and traditions, seeing impressive sites, and meeting locals with completely different cultures to your own can be really eye-opening. This will not only help put your own life into perspective and make you appreciate what you have, but can also be amazing for expanding your mind and enhancing your creativity levels.
Experiencing a different way of life can also help you to make positive changes in your own. Perhaps you’ll take a bit of that new culture back home – whether it’s a new recipe or a fresh attitude towards your life and happiness.
4. Sense of achievement
If the thought of venturing out on the road (especially if you’re travelling solo or with a like-minded worrier) makes you feel anxious, sometimes it’s best to dive right out of your comfort zone – you may just surprise yourself! After all, if you can handle navigating around unfamiliar realms, then once-daunting tasks you need to face once you arrive back home will feel like less of a big deal.
Being able to do things that seem nerve-wracking or scary can also leave you with an affirming sense of achievement. Even if it’s just small victories like successfully navigating from A to B, or visiting a place of interest – you’ll automatically be building up inner-strength and enhancing your self-esteem in the process.
5. Decreased stress
Our daily lives can be filled with so many stressful situations, whether it’s work, relationships, or other responsibilities that sometimes weigh you down. Taking some time away from those things, by travelling to a completely new destination, is an ideal way to clear your head and shift your focus to something fresh.
When you’re travelling, your happiness takes priority. Why not spend a whole day lazing around by a pool, or trapesing around the charming backstreets of a sleepy town? Nobody expects anything from you, and you can completely dedicate this precious time to do exactly what you fancy.
Travel for mental health: Some final thoughts
When feeling stressed or down, we tend to become self-absorbed and don’t look beyond the storm in our own head. As such, we often forget the beauty and wonder of the world around us. We forget that there are other places, other people, and other ways to do things.
Although long-term mental health problems require further treatment, a trip away can clear the dust and do wonders for your cloudy perspective – by reminding us that there is more out there than our little bubble of worry. And it’s oddly comforting to be confronted with the insignificance of our personal problems in the grand scheme of things.
Finally, having a great time travelling usually gives you the desire to plan more trips and have more of a positive outlook on your future – giving you something to look forward to and strive for – completely separate from your usual work-related ambitions.
So get your suitcase packed, darling! Where are you off to next?