Whether you’re traveling around the world this summer or planning a “stay-cation,” a getaway can do wonders for your mental health. Taking a break from your normal routine can leave you feeling energized, creative, and more focused when you return. Even the smallest adventures help us re-prioritize, think differently, and appreciate the little things in life. So, while getting a tan and enjoying a tasty beverage might be at the top of the itinerary, here are some additional benefits to taking a vacation this summer, or anytime throughout the year!
A Change of Scenery
Many of us are stuck on autopilot. We do the same thing every day and rarely change up our routine, let alone scenery. This can make you feel trapped, bored or unmotivated. Exploring a new place, even just 30 minutes away, can help snap us out of this rut. While getting out of your normal environment is most beneficial, there’s research to suggest that just looking at pictures of new places, rearranging the furniture, or buying a new piece of artwork can have some of the same positive mental health benefits!
With deadlines, schedules, and seemingly bottomless inboxes our lives can feel overwhelming and stressful. We get home and are immediately reminded of all the things we have to do just to maintain our lives – laundry, dishes, mowing, and more! When we travel, this all gets left behind. People often wonder how they have so much time on vacation. It’s because every waking moment isn’t consumed by a task! Vacuuming isn’t even an option! Unfortunately, our phones often travel with us, so it’s very important to make a concerted effort to not use your phone for work or productivity. Let work know you won’t be checking email while you’re gone and put up an away message. Temporarily delete or move apps that steal your time while you’re on vacation. Do what you need to do to stay present in the moment while traveling, and not go down a stress rabbit hole!
Sustained Mood Booster
Just like the bronze glow you might acquire from a vacation the mental health benefits stay with you long after you’ve returned home. You’ve gained a new experience and created new memories. Maybe you’ve tried something you never thought you would or had a meaningful conversation with a stranger that helped you see life differently. At the very least, you have photos. Print them or save them as your screensaver for a few weeks after your trip. They will instantly take you back. Just a 30 second video of a lapping shoreline can evoke all our senses and relax us during a stressful day.
Remember, you don’t have to travel far to get the added mental health boosts of a trip! Michigan summers are one of a kind. With sand dunes, forests, and a shoreline for days just a quick trip to South Haven or St. Joe can help you feel mentally refreshed and ready to tackle another Monday.
Emily Betros is a licensed clinical social worker, certified health coach, and owner or Reclaiming Health, LLC. She helps clients put together an individualized plan to meet their health goals. Emily enjoys hiking, traveling, vegan-izing recipes, and spending time with her husband and daughter. Connect with Emily: email@example.com