Taking a holiday and having a change of scenery, even if it is just a couple of hours down the road. Travelling can work wonders, and it has been scientifically proven that travel provides a number of benefits to your mental health.
What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when I say ‘travel’ – a holiday? Meeting new people? Or maybe, Instagrammable sunsets? While travelling can be exciting and exhilarating, it’s so much more than sipping margaritas on a sun-soaked beach.
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Traveling Awareness is Increasing
With the rise of the social media generation, the visibility of travelling has never been more prominent. As influencers promote the travelling lifestyle, more young people want to mimic it. This led to a number of the young generation to take extended time out and travel to the new places. Also, the increased awareness of mental health issues makes them get time to find about themselves.
You don’t have to take a gap year for this, just one trip away could help change your outlook on life for the better.
Traveling Benefits to Mental Health
Here are a few reasons why it may be worth packing your suitcase. Let’s take a look at the following five benefits of travelling provide to your mental health.
1. Travel Increases Happiness
This might seem like a no-brainer after all that stress-busting, creativity-inducing, perspective-shifting, and travel can lead to a happier and more satisfying life. This benefits your relationships, your mental and physical well-being, and reduces your chance of fatigue and depression. It can boost your productivity and lift your mood, helping you go back to normal life refreshed and invigorated.
The effects of travel are not only felt during and after your trip but the anticipation of an upcoming trip can boost your mood. After all, don’t we all look forward to our next holiday?
A study by the University of Surrey found that people are at their happiest when they have a holiday planned. Also, they are more positive about their health, economic situation and general quality of life.
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2. Stress Relief
While the idea of travelling might seem like a source of stress itself. Like booking hotels and flights, sitting in the airport, and figuring out plans once you’re there. Travel is actually proven to decrease stress. It pulls you out of your day to day routines, getting you away from sources of stress and anxiety. Whether your main stressors are work, keeping up with a home, or something else entirely. A break in your routine will help you recover and gain perspective. You can also read our guide to have fun with colleagues at work.
It’s common knowledge that stress isn’t healthy, but you might not know its full ramifications. While our culture often glorifies busyness and stress, they can lead to devastating health effects. Stress has a proven connection to physical illnesses like heart disease, diabetes and mental illnesses like depression and anxiety.
It is important to find a way to proactively manage stress in your daily life. And travelling at least once a year can help by giving you something to plan for and look forward to while giving you a break to relax and replenish.
3. Stay Fit and Healthy
Physical exercise is known to improve mental wellbeing. And is one of the first things that will be prescribed to anyone with mental health issues. Therefore, combining the positive effects of travelling with exercise is a no brainer.
Whether you enjoy pounding the pavement on a city break, cycling in the evening, swimming in the sea or summiting mountain peaks. Getting to know a new destination by embracing the great outdoors activities can boost energy levels and improve your mood.
Combine these positive effects with being closer to nature and you will have a truly relaxing trip. Im.mersing yourself in and connecting with nature is another key way to reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression.
4. It Boosts Self-Esteem and Confidence
Travel isn’t always swaying palms and spa days. It can also mean navigating crowds in excessive heat, getting lost, struggling with language barriers or culture shock. All of which is extra challenging if you’re prone to feeling down or anxious. Navigating these issues really helps people become accustomed to problem-solving in everyday life, making small problems seem like less of an issue.
Travel can be a form of therapy for anxiety. By keeping worlds and problems “big”, travel gives context to the smaller tasks in life that can often feel overwhelming when you suffer from anxiety. For example, the elation of stepping off a plane after getting ourselves to the other side of the world makes completing a short train journey seem easily achievable. Travel continues to keep many peoples lives open and fulfilled, which in turn, leads to better mental health.
5. Change in Perspective
If you’re feeling dull and uninspired (or even just cranky), travel could be the perspective shift you need. Exploring a new place and culture not only helps you go back to your daily life with less stress and more energy, but it can also make you a more compassionate and empathetic person. Exposure to situations and perspectives you’ve only heard or read about can make you rethink your own life and gain clarity. It’s no coincidence that the cliché of taking a year to “find yourself” normally involves backpacking across a continent.
Travel can also put things that are weighing on you (anxieties or fears), into perspective and can even help you become more creative. This increased empathy and point of view will follow you back to your everyday life, leaving you reaping the health benefits of travel for weeks to come.
Before You Go…
If you are going on holiday, you’ll have better peace of mind if all of your documents are ready. Be aware of countries that may need visas. Paperwork can be a mess but luckily these days, countries such as Oman will offer an Oman E-Visa, so it can all be done online before you go. Even Canada is offering a form of electronic visa through a Canada eTA. Make sure you get down to your Birmingham travel agents and book an exciting trip.
Make sure that all your travel documents are in order, with your passport being valid with 6 months left on it before you travel. Research where you are travelling, looking into the culture and dress code that is acceptable so you can enjoy your trip without any complications.
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