5 Reasons Traveling Is Good for Your Mental Health
When you think about traveling, how do you feel? For some people, travel is stressful or not enjoyable. Many people, though, have experienced the positive mental health benefits of traveling!
Travel is not always accessible for everyone, and it’s important to note that. It’s expensive to travel. Many travel destinations aren’t accessible for disabled people, which makes travel unnecessarily difficult. Lots of people also don’t have time off from work or responsibilities to travel. Travel can be a lot of fun in addition to its mental health benefits, so making it more accessible for everyone would be helpful.
Especially in the era of COVID, travel has been put under scrutiny for being unnecessarily dangerous. As with most things in life, travel can be about managing risk. Nothing is ever perfectly risk-free, and as humans with critical thinking skills, we have to make the choices that we are comfortable with as long as they don’t harm others. Traveling has some important benefits, and when it’s done safely (like testing beforehand and wearing masks in crowded places) it can be enjoyable even in the pandemic era.
Why is travel good for your mental health?
Travel, like everything, has benefits and drawbacks. Here are 5 ways traveling is good for your mental health:
Gives you something to look forward to
Having something to look forward to can be a great source of motivation. It can be nice to know when you’ll get a break from the tediousness of day to day life. Planning a trip or a vacation can be as fun or more fun than the trip itself, depending on how you feel about it. In fact, researchers have found that the anticipation of traveling actually made people feel happier than the trip itself!
When you’re looking forward to something, it can help you get through the slog of regular life because you know you have something good coming up to reward yourself with. Planning a vacation can also be a nice distraction from your normal activities, so if you’re in need of something to do, planning a trip might be the way to go.
Get out of your routine
Have you ever felt like you were stuck in a rut? It can be helpful to have a routine in the day to day of life, but sometimes it can get a little boring. It might be fun to mix things up now and then. Traveling gives you a chance to explore new ways of living. What happens when you sleep in late? Eat dinner at 11 pm? Try a new cuisine? You might love it, you might hate it, but no matter what you’ll have a memory of something new and different.
One of the reasons why traveling is so tempting is that being on vacation is a great stress reliever. We all deal with stress, and so we all need to find ways to manage it that work sustainably. One tool for stress management, among others, is taking time off. Travel is something that people often have to do for work or other less than fun reasons, so if it doesn’t reduce stress for you you’re not alone. For many people though, travel is something that we get to do when we have time off, so it can feel like a nice respite from the daily grind.
Meet new people
Travel gets you out of your bubble and into the world. It gives you an opportunity to meet people you wouldn’t normally get a chance to interact with, and learn from them. Lots of people have a hard time making friends in adulthood, and part of why is because we don’t often get to meet entirely new people. We see the same folks at home, at school, at the office, at the supermarket, and there aren’t always obvious opportunities to get to know new people.
Traveling has a way of introducing people to each other. It’s a little vulnerable to be out in the world away from what you’re familiar with, and the intensity of travel can help people to bond. It can also be liberating to know that you don’t ever have to see some of these people again if you don’t want to. You don’t have to worry about being judged or embarrassing yourself. If that happens, you can just go home and forget about it!
Going somewhere new can be inspiring. Feeling creatively inspired can happen while you travel because you get to experience new things and expand your worldview. When you expose yourself to new places, you can experience new cultures, increase your problem solving skills, learn more about the world, and see the world in whole new ways. Rest and relaxation can also help unlock creativity. When the mind is overwhelmed and burned out, creative thinking can be the last thing you want to do.
If you have the opportunity to travel, it can be a great mental health boost. Make sure to use up those vacation days, if you have them!
Are you looking for more ways to support your mental health?
Meeting with a therapist gives you a safe, judgment free zone to discuss whatever is important to you, while gaining insight into yourself. Contact our office to set up an appointment today.