Amid school half terms and a bank holiday week or with the prospect of work piling up or clients feeling vulnerable if you take time away, do you find your self questioning the benefits of Holidays??
Taking a break and having a change of scene, be it a couple of hours away from home or half way around the world has been proven to provide a number of benefits for our mental health, here are just a few reasons to say YES to taking time and broadening those horizons!
Anticipation and Hope
There are many studies that suggest just the idea of a break will increase our sense of happiness and ability to cope with day to day life. One such study by Cornell University reported that we gain more happiness from anticipating an experience than from obtaining a possession.
Whilst acknowledging there are differences in how each of us prepare for a holiday, with some people finding comfort in careful planning whilst others can pick up a passport or keys and go, what is assured is that life will be different, and that change offers a rest from ‘normal life’.
Dr Margaret King of the centre of Cultural Studies and Analysis writes
“There are lots of psychological benefits from change of venue from home and work to ‘third places’ devoted to just experiences the environment. With a short list of activities each day, freed up from the complexities of on-going projects and relationships, the mind can reset, as does the body, with stress relief the main outcome”
Whether you choose an active week with the kids or restful break on the beach, our neuroplasticity is directly influenced by how we cope with new experience. Travel introduces novelty which improves cognition and encourages those welcome reward circuits.
Negotiating a new space naturally encourages us to practise mindfulness. Our senses are sharpened, and we are more aware of being in the moment. The challenge of finding new ways to get around, shop for groceries, visit inspiring places gives us opportunity to accomplish new challenges in everyday ways. Afterwards too, holiday snaps can help us return to a beautiful or peaceful memory to help restore wellbeing, balance and calm when back at home.
Asking for help in ways we would not need to do at home, helps with body and verbal language noticing and how to adapt to differences. This challenge strengthens our awareness and openness, enhances our relativity and empathy toward difference and increases our tolerance of the unfamiliar.
Travel and holidays are not just about seeing new places, they are an escape from the old patterns and responsibilities that fill our lives. So, whether it is a short or long trip, a great distance or not, the benefits can be tangible…