Many people associate vacations with sunbathing on a beach and sipping a fruity cocktail — the ultimate escape from deadlines and draining responsibilities.
Many agree that booking a vacation is the best way to improve your emotional, mental and physical well-being. Here are six reasons why travel helps you get out of a funk.
1. Fosters Reinvention
Now and then, life may feel stagnant. Fortunately, a vacation can shake things up and enable us to start fresh. Traveling pulls you out of your comfort zone and reveals all you’re capable of. It’s also ideal for marking a significant life transition, such as overcoming an illness, grieving a loss or changing careers.
Travel induces self-awareness — an opportunity to look deep within, set new challenges for yourself or take on another persona. For instance, you might not have thought you dared to go abroad, navigate rentals and accommodations or explore unfamiliar surroundings as a solo traveler.
If you want to tap into a more exciting version of yourself, explore somewhere of historical or cultural significance. You’ll have the best chance of renewing your spirit and wonder when you venture outside your hotel.
2. Boosts Mental Health
If work and home life have you feeling bogged down, an escape to paradise might be in order. According to a 2022 study, participants who visited the tropics for 12 days reported improved mental health after their trip. A break from the grind can rejuvenate you and restore meaning in your life.
Of course, some people find vacations stress-inducing, prompting an emerging therapy to address travel and mental health. In travel therapy, you consult your practitioner about the stress you may endure during a trip.
A therapist can talk you through your concerns and ensure you have the proper medication to take with you. You might also develop a wellness toolbox with strategies to combat bouts of anxiety and depression during your trip.
Contact your therapist during your travels if you’re slipping into a funk. Also, be sure to follow up with them when you return home.
3. Creates a Sense of Adventure
A renewed sense of adventure is one of the leading reasons travel helps you get out of a funk. Many people spend their days sitting behind a desk for work. When you travel, you can see and do things you wouldn’t usually get to in your everyday life.
You don’t have to go skydiving or pursue another thrill-seeking excursion to feel adventurous. Sometimes, a leisurely hike through the Appalachian Trail, standing atop one of Hawaii’s volcanoes or holding an exotic animal at a nature preserve is all you need to feel accomplished and fulfilled.
Consider a few activities you would have never tried before when planning your next trip. Remember to take photos to capture the most important memories.
4. Promotes Better Well-Being
Stress can cause poor sleep quality and health, especially in women. For example, housekeeping and caring for children account for 4.5 hours of uncompensated daily work for women. It’s no wonder so many struggle to get a restful evening.
According to a Mattress Firm and One Poll study, 68% and 76% of travelers have a good night’s sleep and feel more refreshed in the morning, respectively. The smell of fresh sheets and a comfortable mattress are the top reasons.
Additionally, you may feel more motivated to exercise during your downtime. In one study of two 12-day vacations, 35% of participants spent time outdoors during getaways, decreasing sedentary behaviors by 29 minutes. Also, many reported sufficient sleep for two weeks post-travel.
5. Provides Cultural Immersion
Sometimes the antidote to a hum-drum life is immersing yourself in another culture. International travel allows you to learn about another’s traditions, cuisine and art. You also gain global perspectives and begin to appreciate different ways of living.
One of the greatest benefits of traveling to get out of a funk is undergoing personal growth. Visiting a foreign country could spark a curiosity to explore and understand your heritage.
Likewise, some people integrate newly-learned traditions and practices from their travels into their lives when they return home. It could be a popular recipe they picked up or updating their space with decorative items and textiles found abroad.
6. Encourages New Interactions
Dr. Robert Waldinger of Harvard Medical School says good relationships are the key to a long and happy life. Waldinger is the current director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development — the most comprehensive happiness study beginning in 1938and spanning three generations of over 1,300 descendants.
Relationships can entail a loving partner, supportive friends or family. However, even exchanging pleasantries with a stranger can reduce stress.
Social interactions are an essential component of travel and mental health. Engaging someone in conversation during vacation fosters deeper connections and helps you make exciting acquaintances for greater life satisfaction.
It’s fun to step away from your everyday routine for something different. While you may look forward to week-long resort living and exploring the world’s most precious attractions and landmarks, there’s no denying the many physical and mental rewards you’ll reap from a vacation.