If you have vacation days saved up, now is the time to put those to good use and refuel yourself by traveling. Investing a little time and money in travel is one of the best ways to take care of your mental health. The health impact of travel lasts well beyond the fun you have on your trip, but to get the maximum benefit, follow these tips to truly recharge and make the most of your experience.
Travel boosts confidence and trust in yourself
Any time you travel, there will be unexpected situations. When you step outside of your comfort zone and everyday life, all sorts of curve balls can come at you, from travel arrangements getting rescheduled to figuring out the language or customs in a totally new culture. Encountering these unexpected situations and figuring out how to handle them gives you a huge confidence boost. For some people, travel involves facing your fears, and when you confront fears head-on, you gain a new perspective and trust in yourself. According to Forbes, being in a new place intensifies your senses and your powers of observation. This increased focus actually sharpens your brain and improves resilience, so when you return home you’re better prepared to take on the world.
Travel allows you to be you
Often times we get caught up in day to day life and lose sight of what truly matters, but traveling to a new environment strips us down to who we really are. To fully reconnect with yourself, consider taking a social media break while traveling. While it has its benefits, social media can be harmful emotionally as it often bombards us with negativity. Use travel as a time to get away from social media and really live in the moment. A social media break may seem hard at first, but once you give it a try, you may find that it’s easy because you’re focused on the new experience.
For someone who is in addiction recovery, travel can also help you stay on the sober track by helping you grow as a person. Travel is a tool that aids in positive psychology, a form of treatment that focuses on re-envisioning life and its many possibilities as you go through recovery. When you take this time to focus on you, and overcome the challenges that you encounter when traveling, you have the chance to look within yourself and see your strengths and all life has to offer.
Travel builds connections
In our daily lives, we are often reluctant to talk to new people and may not make time to spend with friends. When traveling, we tend to be more open to talking to new people, whether out of necessity to ask someone for directions or simply because those barriers to communication seem to drop when we can relax and focus on the moment. Social interaction and gaining a greater sense of connectedness with others boosts happiness. According to Thought Catalog, depending on others for help in a new place encourages us to trust others and builds a renewed belief in humanity.
When you make a point of talking to local people wherever you travel, it not only builds connections but it’s also a great way to get the most out of your experience. National Geographic suggests that to truly experience local culture, find spots where locals spend time, explore smaller cities and towns, and ask locals for suggestions. Immersing yourself in the local culture connects you to more than just individuals. It builds a greater understanding of the world that will impact your life for years to come.
Regular self-care is crucial to taking care of our mental health, but sometimes what we really need is to get away to recharge and reconnect. Traveling gives us a boost like no other experience can, and memories are something that simply can’t be bought. So quit hoarding those vacation days, get outside your comfort zone, and give yourself the emotional care you need.
Holly Perkins is the creator of MindfulTraveler. She loves travelling and believes that is very important to make sure we’re all taking the precautions we need to in order to protect ourselves and our belongings.