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The Mental Health Benefits Of Going On Vacation

As the My Mind News editorial team heads off for some time away from keyboards and screens, we delve a little deeper into why taking time out helps our mental health and general wellbeing.

Life is hectic – take some time off!

It’s no secret that getting away from it all, even for a couple of days, can do wonders for your mental health. Life these days is hectic, and we all need a break from the stresses and challenges of everyday life.

When you’re on holiday, you can leave your worries behind and focus on spending quality time with loved ones. Whether you’re dipping your toes into a pool, soaking up the sun on a beach, doing something active, or experiencing a spot of culture, you’ll get a wonderful mental boost.

In fact, scientists have found that the psychological benefits of a holiday can last for up to a month after returning home. And why shouldn’t everyone get the chance to benefit from a holiday? Holidays shouldn’t just be for the privileged and wealthy, everyone should be able to enjoy the mental health benefits that holidays bring.

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Some of the many mental health benefits of holidays

They help reduce stress

Nuffield Health, the UK’s largest healthcare charity, and tour operator Kuoni, conducted a study and discovered there are striking effects of not going on holiday. They discovered those who didn’t go away for a break had higher blood pressure, didn’t sleep as well, and had higher levels of stress.

It’s not surprising that holidays help us de-stress because we do things that give us pleasure and distract our minds. Travel provides a much-needed break from hectic lifestyles, which in turn, helps us feel less stressed.

Holidays can make us mentally sharper and more creative

If your mind is emotionally exhausted, you probably won’t be functioning at your best. Just like when you do work, you need to take breaks regularly in order to remain productive, you also need prolonged breaks where you can properly rest.

Going on holiday can give you a fresh wave of motivation and the strength to keep your life moving forward when you return. A study (by US researcher Elizabeth Scott Ph.D.) found that three days after a holiday, travelers felt well-rested, less anxious, and in a better mood.

You can read the full report written by Dr. Scott via this link.

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Travel helps you stay active, which helps your mental health

It’s fairly well known that doing exercise can give you a mental health boost. A long walk in a calm environment can do wonders for your mood.

When we travel, there’s often an opportunity to be active, and in order to explore new places, we have to travel on foot. Regular holidays where you have the chance to do something energetic, such as an activity or walking holiday, will definitely help improve your mental health and general wellbeing.

Travel broadens your mind

An article published in The Atlantic describes studies that show the connection between travel and an increase in creativity, a deeper sense of cultural awareness, and personal growth.

When you travel to new places, your brain goes into overdrive. There are new sounds, sights, and smells to adapt to. Your brain takes in your new surroundings, and you have encounters that help make you more culturally aware.

You can read more about how travel broadens the mind, published in The Atlantic here.


Travel gives you something to look forward to

Research has shown that simply having something to look forward to can help boost your mood. So, as soon as you click ‘book’ on that holiday website, your mind starts doing mental somersaults. Everyone loves having a holiday to look forward to.

Travel can help with depression

Scientists from the Icahn School of Medicine, University of California and Harvard found that just six days away triggers genetic changes which dampens stress, boosts the immune system, and lowers levels of proteins linked to dementia and depression.

If you’re feeling low or going through a particularly bad period in your life, travel can provide a temporary respite and help nurse you back to mental health.

If you’d like to learn more about how travel can improve your health and happiness, check out this great blog by Bookmundi.


In summary

There are so many ways that taking time out and having a vacation can benefit you as a person – both physically and mentally. We might have touched on a few of the more obvious ones here, but there are others, too.
The importance of having a routine is known, but the benefits of stepping away from that routine from time to time can and should not be understated. As Roger Dow, President and CEO of the US Travel Association, put it,

“What we’ve long known anecdotally, we will now prove through authoritative research: travel has a positive effect on health, relationships, business performance, and the well-being of communities.”


Photo: Montani via Pixabay
My Mind News will be away from the office between July 26th and August 9th. We will still be posting on our Instagram during that time, so we’ll see you over there for more inspirational quotes, mindful messages,  and beautiful images to support you and your wellbeing until we are back.
We’ll see you back here in early August for all the latest mental health and wellbeing news and insight!

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