Between meetings at work or during your commute, you might dream about your upcoming vacation. No matter where you plan to go, you’re excited to step out of your routine and put life on pause. It’s easier to take a deep breath and feel like a new person on vacation, but there’s more to it than relaxing on the beach.
Science has shown that there are many benefits to taking a vacation. When you know what those benefits are, you might feel like taking more time off this year.
Read on to learn five reasons why travel is good for your mental health. You can take care of yourself while you’re on a trip, without taking time away from your adventures.
1. It Opens Your Mind
Even if you love what you do every day, your routine keeps you in a bubble. You interact with the same people and things, so you know what to expect. Your routine may feel comforting, but it doesn’t do much to develop your view of the world.
Taking a trip transports you to a new place and opens your mind to different cultures, scenery and more. Even if you take a road trip to the next state over, you can benefit from what a new place has to offer.
2. It Reduces Your Stress
Depending on where you’re going on vacation, you might feel a bit stressed out while you plan the trip. You research what you can do and where you’ll stay while you’re there, but once you arrive, all you have to do is relax.
Relaxing in a new place lowers your cortisol levels, which makes you feel calm. When you feel your stress melt away on vacation, it’s because your cortisol levels are balancing themselves out.
3. It Boosts Creativity
When you don’t have to worry about all the little things in life, your brain gets a break. The neural pathways in the brain are sensitive to changes in your routine, especially when you’re in a different location — as you would be on a trip.
You might find that while you’re away, your traveling boosts your creative instincts and fuels the passion you have for your hobbies. Different smells, sounds and sensations light up new synapses in your brain, which can break through any creative block you might have.
You can benefit from this even more by going where a crew is ready to take care of you. That’s why so many people sail around the world on a cruise ship. Once they’re on board, they don’t need to cook, clean or even make their beds. Add a cruise to your bucket list to see what it can do for your creative life.
4. It Increases Productivity
As you sprint through your daily life, thoughts and stress build. Even if you can leave your work at the office and take time for self-care at night, that mental weight can slow you down the next day. It happens so quickly that you might think it’s an unavoidable part of life, but it’s a problem that’s easily fixed by getting out of town.
After a vacation from the ordinary grind, you can clear out anything that might have clogged your mindset. You’ll be able to return to your daily life and increase your productivity. A clear mind can help you sort through your tasks and get them done quickly and efficiently.
5. It Transforms Your Life
Unless you always visit the same destination, vacations can transform your life. If you travel to a place that has a different culture, you might adopt different parts of that culture and use them back home.
You might take a cooking class in India that changes how you plan out your meals. A trip through France could leave you with a different sense of fashion, reinventing your wardrobe and how you dress. You could also visit a retreat where the focus is on mental health through meditation.
These are all simple examples of what you could learn from the world on your next vacation — and just a taste of what you can bring home with you.
Plan Your Next Trip
As you plan your next trip, think about what you can do for your mental health while you’re away from home. Whether you are spending time in one new country or enjoying an all-inclusive cruise to several destinations, you can leave your stress behind — which can help your mental health and make life more enjoyable.