Travel, Mental Health and Wellbeing
Good afternoon all, I hope you are all well. Being World Mental Health Day, I thought it would be great to look at what benefits travelling may have on our mental health. Now when I say ‘travelling’, I am not just talking about jumping on that plane and disappearing to somewhere thousands of miles away. The word ‘travel’ in its literal meaning, means to ‘make a journey, typically of some length’. I believe that we should see ‘travelling’ as an escape from the norm no matter the length of journey. So, whether you are jetting off for a two-week holiday overseas or escaping to the country for a short weekend break, the positive impact that either can have on our mental health is substantial.
Many of us see the taking of a holiday as a luxury or a treat but when we look at the benefits that holidays can have on our mental health, are they a necessity? When you book that trip away and receive the confirmation through, does it raise your spirits and excitement level? Do holidays give you something to look forward to? When you return from your trip, do you find yourself already thinking about the next? When travelling to warmer and sunnier destinations, do you return with that holiday glow with your serotonin levels through the roof? I am certain most of us can say a resounding ‘yes’ to all these questions.
Experts suggest that the five ways to well being are to connect, be active, take notice, keep learning and to give. I believe that travelling can encompass every single one of these well being traits. Let’s break them down slightly:
Connect – Travelling involves people and it also involves new people. How often have you been sat at the hotel bar and found yourself in conversation with the waiter or waitress? Have you ever ended up in conversation with the family beside you whilst sat around the pool? Connecting and meeting new people can be educational and rewarding for us all.
On another level, connecting could mean a trip to see a loved one, a relative or a friend that you have not seen in years. Seeing them, can be as mentally rewarding for them as it can be for you.
Be Active – Exercise has been associated with improving mental health for as long as I can remember and even though we see a getaway as a break and a chance for relaxation, I would like to think that most of us are not impartial to a stroll through the local town or a walk along the beach. Exploring the local area should be a part of any holiday.
Take Notice – Being in a foreign environment whether it is overseas or in your home country, gives us the opportunity to open our eyes to a number of things that we are maybe not used to. Sights, smells, sounds and tastes can be worlds apart from those that we experience back home. Being aware and taking note of other cultures and environments can be educationally rewarding which leads me onto our next wellbeing trait.
Keep Learning – Keeping your mind stimulated and embracing learning is very important to your mental health. Whether you are learning a new language, taking on a new hobby or studying for a qualification, learning can have a very positive impact on our mental health and give us both purpose and focus. Travelling is one of the most educational environments that one can find themselves in. I believe it is especially important to jump outside of our everyday bubble and learn something new and travelling is guaranteed to be an educational experience.
Giving – Lastly, giving is something that may not be directly associated with travelling but what travelling does give back is a lifetime of memories. Memories are the one thing that no one on this earth can take away from you. I have always said that life is all about creating memories and travelling gives the opportunity to make memories for you, your friends and your loved ones.
I hope you all agree that travelling plays such an important part in improving our mental health, our wellbeing and our overall positivity. It gives us focus, enjoyment and most of all memories. Travelling is more than just a treat or an annual routine, it is a way of life that we can all benefit from.