What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when I say ‘travel’ – a holiday? Meeting new people? Or maybe, Instagrammable sunsets? While travelling can be exciting and exhilarating, it’s so much more than sipping margaritas on a sun-soaked beach.
Taking a holiday and having a change of scenery, even if it is just a couple of hours down the road, can work wonders, and it has been scientifically proven that travel provides a number of benefits to your mental health.
With the rise of the Instagram generation, visibility of travelling has never been more prominent. As influencers promote the travelling lifestyle, more young people want to mimic it. This and the increased awareness in mental health issues has led to a number of the younger generation taking extended time out to travel and find themselves.
You don’t have to take a gap year for this, just one trip away could help change your outlook on life for the better — here are a few reasons why it may be worth packing your suitcase.
Our lives can often be constantly busy, and sometimes we may feel that we are living each day on repeat. Taking a break from the daily hustle and bustle is essential for your mind to relax, recharge and rejuvenate and travel is a great way to do that. Sometimes experiencing a new place is more about leaving the old one behind.
What better way to do so than to pack your bags and cross wanderlust-worthy destinations off your bucket list? Travelling promotes happiness and helps you take your mind off stressful situations. This leads to lower cortisol levels, making you feel more calm and content.
Stay Fit and Healthy
Physical exercise is known to improve mental wellbeing and is one of the first things that will be prescribed to anyone with mental health issues. Therefore, combining the positive effects of travelling with exercise is a no brainer.
There are plenty of fitness apps and online fitness coaches, so you can access great workouts and content wherever your travels take you.
Whether you enjoy pounding the pavement on a city break, swimming in the sea or summiting mountain peaks, getting to know a new destination by embracing the great outdoors can boost energy levels and improve your mood.
Combine these positive effects with being closer to nature and you will have a truly relaxing trip. Im.mersing yourself in and connecting with nature is another key way to reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression.
Change in Perspective
One of the main benefits of travelling and experiencing new cultures is the way they view the world. Having new perspectives on life can really help you get your head around some of the issues within your own.
Something as simple as learning a new recipe or changing the way you spend your downtime can have a dramatic effect on your wellbeing. Travel can lead you to question and challenge the norms of everyday life at home, potentially inspiring you to make positive changes.
It’s an Act of Self-Care
When you’re feeling low, it’s easy to feel guilty or undeserving of nice things. But treating yourself to a trip – whether it’s a staycation or far-flung getaway – can be an empowering act of self-care.
‘Of course, anxiety and depression can make travelling difficult. Anxiety makes me worry about doing it, and depression both saps my energy to organise it and tells me I’m not worth the effort,’ says David. ‘Planning a trip can be a good way to push through that and show yourself some love or give yourself some purpose.’
As well as the focus and excitement travel planning can bring, travel itself grants you the freedom to do what you love, take time to rest and practice living in the moment. To this end, for many people, travel is not simply an enjoyable pastime, but an essential part of fostering a healthy, positive mindset.
Before You Go…
If you are going on holiday, you’ll have better peace of mind if all of your documents are ready. Be aware of countries that may need visas. Paperwork can be a mess but luckily these days, countries such as Oman will offer an Oman E-Visa, so it can all be done online before you go. Even Canada is offering a form of electronic visa through a Canada eTA. Make sure you get down to your Birmingham travel agents and book an exciting trip.
Make sure that all your travel documents are in order, with your passport being valid with 6 months left on it before you travel. Research where you are travelling, looking into the culture and dress code that is acceptable so you can enjoy your trip without any complications.