Feeling Stuck in a Mental Rut? Take a Trip
Have you ever felt cooped up, stuck in the same routine, and wanted to get away? No, this isn’t a Southwest Airlines commercial, it’s a serious question. And, it’s a question that most of us would answer honestly with a resounding “yes.” There’s a reason breaking our monotonous routine and getting away for a few days, if not a few weeks, feels so liberating. It is the newness of sights, sounds, people, and cultures that imparts actual mental health benefits on our cranium.
(Photo via Pixabay)
Are You Always Moving, But Never Going Anywhere?
Most of us see the same things, with only minor changes, virtually everyday. We take the same route to work, hang out with the same friends, eat at the same joints, hit up the same bars, etc. Our lives, as we too often allow them, become marked by same-ness.
We have to find a way to break these routines, or we risk succumbing to the dangers of mental, physical, and emotional stagnation. The lifestyle blog A Life of Blue defines routine as “a sequence of actions regularly followed.” More illuminating are its synonyms: sameness, monotony.
Don’t get me wrong, structure and routine are important for success in life. Thought Catalog confirms this when they find that people who live a structured life tend to be happier than those who constantly chase adventure. Even though we shouldn’t constantly chase adventure, we should occasionally. The Huffington Post lists several symptoms that may suggest you’re in need of a vacation, including being afraid of change, boredom in your career and/or marriage, and many other emotions and feelings. But you don’t need to be feeling these symptoms of life to benefit from vacation’s mental and physical health boosts.
Vacation: Good for Your Mind and Body
The fact that vacationing is good for our mental health is simply irrefutable. Certain demographics who tend toward negative emotions – particularly those in recovery or those who suffer from mental disorders – may find fresh perspective and time for self-healing while on vacation. It’s not a replacement for, but a supplement to, clinical treatment.
Psychology Today published several compelling findings which illuminate why vacationing is so important. These findings include that leisure activity, vacation included, dramatically lowered rates of clinical depression. In addition, they found that, “the more frequent the vacations, the longer the men (in a University of Pittsburgh study) lived.” It really doesn’t get much simpler than that.
Travel, especially when it’s a new experience, lowers stress and works parts of our brain that goes dull as we continue to engage in the same routines and activities day after day. The fact is, for the sake of our longevity and mental health, we cannot afford not to take vacations as frequently as possible.
Vacation is often seen as a luxury or privilege, but more are beginning to see it as more of a right, and for good reason. The correlation between travel and improved mental and physical health is undeniable. Even when vacations include the stress of, for example, going through airport security, we come out healthier still. For this reason, none of us can afford to let our vacation days go to waste.