Everyone needs a vacation. No matter what we do, or where we do it, we will always find ourselves struck with wanderlust from time to time. This is not a sign of unhappiness, but a natural and healthy need to breathe new air, see new skies, and revitalize our love for the most familiar places. To anyone who has ever taken a vacation before, all this reads like common sense.
But have you ever thought about what a vacation can do for your mental health?
The truth is that the benefits of vacation start long before arriving at the destination. A study done by British scientists found that “the anticipation of a favorable event (holiday trip) has affected the respondents’ subjective well-being equilibrium.” The act of planning alone feels good, filling folks with joy about future events and their current place in life.
Then, once the vacation starts, the time away provides relief of our daily stresses. A survey of stress in America, for instance, found that a vacation helps travelers manage their stress by taking them away from their daily troubles. It provides new places and activities that refresh our minds and calm our souls.
Moreover, in addition to stress, vacation can help prevent — and treat — depression. The Wisconsin Medical Journal found that “the odds of depression were higher among women who took vacations only once in two years.”
When it does finally come time to return home, you will return feeling refreshed and creative, which will reflect itself in your work. “New sounds, smells, languages, tastes, sensations, and sights,” writes Brent Crane in his Atlantic article, “spark different synapses in the brain.” The article goes on to explain that the deeper we explore and immerse ourselves in the cultures outside of our own, the more creative we become.
One of the best things we can do for ourselves, our health, and our work, is take the time – and take it often – to travel and vacation. After all, it’s just as the philosopher Seneca said: “To travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.”
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