Right around the beginning of fall, it never failed that I started to slide into a clinical depression. Something about the changing weather, the dying leaves, and the longer nights made me want to burrow in the confines of my home until the first sign of spring.
Recently I discovered traveling, or just the prospect of planning my next adventure, gets me out of a funk and gives me the healthy dose of energy I need. But there’s so much more that travel can offer for mental health that should be recognized.
Check out these motivators to book that next holiday and give your mood a boost.
Anyone suffering from depression will tell you, the last thing you want to do is be around people. Isolation is the name of the game, and it holds no prisoners. It’s so easy to distance yourself from everyone when you’re in your natural habitat. But when we do this, we are feeding the beast instead of curtailing it.
There are plenty of studies to show that social interactions drive up endorphins, which are responsible for sending happy signals to your brain. When you travel, you’re almost always in situations that require you to interact with others. It could be something as simple as asking a local for directions, small talk with the server at a restaurant, or exchanging stories with your tour guide. You are forced to engage because you are outside the norms of your environment, and that is one of the best things to do for your mental health.
Getting away not only helps you engage more; you are also getting out of the environment that could be inducing stress. Whether it’s work or home-life, getting out of the routine and customs that you’re used to can help you find the clarity you need to come up for air, regroup, and recharge. Got a problem that’s been difficult to solve? Have an overbearing relationship? Escaping for a bit can help you find peace and serenity to come up with a new approach to deal with it all. Just avoid the temptation to make it an indefinite vacation 😊.
Connecting With The Environment
When I struggled with depression, my therapist would tell me to get out and go for a walk. She would explain the benefits and how it would help release endorphins (You know, the chemical we produce in our body that makes us happy). Problem was – I didn’t have any motivation to go out and explore my backyard – been there done that. But with traveling, you’re dumped into an entire world of unknowns begging for you to explore and discover. This may sound counterintuitive in combating depression. Because why would you put added pressure on yourself to go on a trip? But it truly works. Physical activity combined with connecting with your environment really ramps up your energy and reduces symptoms of depression. Besides, nothing puts you in a jollier mood than exploring the Christmas Markets of Budapest or visiting the Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris.
As always, consult your doctor before making any changes that can affect your overall health. But consider using travel as a means to lift your spirit and aide in kicking depression in the proverbial throat. Keep in mind, it doesn’t have to be a flight to a tropical beach or some exotic location. All that matters is you find your happy place and visit there frequently.
Okay, Your Turn – What place do you enjoy visiting to get to your happy place?! Share them in the comments below!