3 Reasons You Need To Take That Vacation, for Your Mental Health

Getting away is good for you.

Woman relaxing on the beach, looking over the ocean

You May Not Think You Have the Time or Resources To Get Away

You have so much going on at work, or the kids have activities, and you think you don’t have time to get away.  Maybe you’re like me, and don’t plan ahead, and the time just gets away from you.  I wish I were like my friend, Charla.  She’s so great at planning trips for her whole family, including fun activities.  

These studies found that taking a vacation can reduce anxiety and depression, as well as improve job productivity.  Vacations also reduced risk of heart attack and lowered the stress hormone, cortisol.

For me, it usually takes someone else to do the planning, and then I’m game to go.  This weekend, I’m going away with my college friends.  We get together every summer.  I almost didn’t go because one of our air conditioners went out.  That will be costly when the part comes in.  Also, the friend I was rooming with had to back out.  

But, luckily, I found another friend that wanted to room with me, and I’m going!  I always really enjoy these weekends away with my friends, laughing and catching up.  We still have so much in common after all these years.  

What I Usually Come Away With

The times I do get away from life – as – usual,  I always enjoy myself.  I feel rejuvenated from the mundane.  These are some of the things I’ve noticed:

  • Fresh perspective – Things seem so much more clear.  That big problem that I thought I had, suddenly doesn’t seem so big.  The argument with a loved one, or the challenge at home, seems more solvable.  When I go somewhere with my friends, especially, I realize that we all have similar struggles.   
  • New ideas/creative spark – You see something or meet someone that inspires you when you go on a trip.   You may come away with more gratitude for the things you have, or decide you want more of something in your life, and set new goals.  My friends inspired me to try chalk paint on an old piece of furniture.  I also got some financial tips from another friend.  Oh, and you should have heard the conversations we had about genetic testing!  (Two friends had siblings they didn’t know about, and one friend had a niece that wasn’t directly related to her, as she’d thought.  Maybe that’s a cautionary tale, depending on how you look at it.)
  • New energy – You have time to relax, and re-energize.  There’s no cooking, cleaning, or taking care of others.  (Okay, maybe you still have to do some of that if you are on a family vacation, but it’s different from taking care of all the chores around your own home.)  Activities are more fun.   When you come home, you are happier to do the things you were so done with before your get-away.

What If You Just Can’t Get Away?

I get it, gas prices are through the roof.  Plane flights, hotels, and all that go with that are very expensive right now.  Or, maybe you started a new job, just moved to a new home, or have a sick loved one.  There are many reasons you just might not be able to get away.  

Instead, try taking a day trip to see something new in your area.  There’s a winery just about 45 minutes from where I live.  We went there with friends a few years ago.  I never even knew it was there!  It had beautiful gardens, and live entertainment.  

Another time, we went to the wedding of a friend, and found a cute little town about an hour away from us.  We stayed in a huge old bed and breakfast.  A few weekends later, we went back to explore the antique shops, diners, and the Antique Rose Emporium nearby.  We just spent the day there.  It didn’t even require an overnight stay.  You can Google day trips in your area.  

If you have trouble even getting away for a day trip, try just going to a new location.  A walk outdoors in nature can do wonders.  During lockdowns, my sanity was saved by going walking in the neighborhood park, or even trips to the grocery store.  If you’re lucky enough to have a beautiful yard, (or one you can work on), that can give you inspiration and renewed energy as well.  

So, let me know, are you planning a trip soon?  If so, where to?  If a trip is just not in the cards at this time, what is your trick for changing your perspective?

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