by Anna Fletcher
Whether it’s for business or pleasure; with friends, family, or solo; across the state or across the world, traveling is one of the best things you can do for your mind, body, and soul. Going to new places, discovering new cultures, and getting away to de-stress and relax allows you to physically and mentally “reboot”. We know that travel is fun and exciting, but often we forget that it’s also beneficial to our health and well-being. So really, we need to pack our bags, escape from everyday life, and set out on adventures to exciting places with new and interesting things to see and do. For the sake of our health.
Here are some benefits of traveling…
Provides a Break from the Daily Routine. With work, family, and responsibilities, our daily routine can suck up most of our energy and require all of our attention. Taking a vacation allows you to get away from your daily routine stresses and take your mind off those petty issues that tend to seem so much bigger than they actually are (There aren’t any more M&Ms left in the break room?? That’s it, I’m out.) Experiencing a change of scenery and getting away from the monotony of the routine can do wonders if you are starting to lose energy and your grip on what is most important to you.
Forces You to Be Daring. Whether it’s cliff jumping, crossing a river, climbing a mountain, learning a language, or trying that Korean dish that involves fermented stingray, traveling forces you out of your comfort zone and into a new and refreshing perspective. It will teach you new ways to see the world, develop skills that you never knew you had, and give you a healthy dose of reality about other cultures.
Improves Your Health. Traveling has been found to correlate with a lower risk of heart disease. In a nine-year study, 12,000 middle-aged men who were at high risk for heart disease were surveyed to determine how many vacations they took each year. The study found that men who take at least one vacation per year were 30% less likely to die from heart disease than those who did not travel. Another study – the Framingham Heart Study – surveyed about 750 women with no heart disease and tracked them for the next 20 years. The findings showed that the women who did not take vacation time more than once every six years were 50% more likely to have a heart attack compared to those who traveled at least twice a year.
Prevents Burnout. Work can be stressful, no matter what you do. Taking a break away from the office will improve job performance and creativity, resulting in higher productivity and job satisfaction. It will also decrease the likelihood that you will feel resentful and antagonized when something goes wrong at work. Taking time off to separate yourself from your work environment has proven to be beneficial to both you and your employer, as vacation time improves our ability to handle stress long after we get home, which will significantly reduce stress-related absences. This means fewer calls to the office about how we “can’t come into work today because my cousin tried to break up a dog fight in front of the convenient store and I have to take him to the hospital”.
Requires You to be Active. Exploring a new place is not only exciting and stimulating; it gets you to actively do something. Even if you’re sprawled out on the beach all day or lounging at your campsite in your hammock, the thrill alone of being in a new and different environment gets your blood pumping. Having the day all to yourself to wander and explore is rejuvenating, and will give you more of an inclination to be active and experience new things.
Replaces Monotony with Novelty. White beaches, bustling cities, ruggedly beautiful mountain tops, fascinating architecture, tasty new foods, and interactions with extrinsic locals will all create new memories. These new sights, sounds, smells, and connections will be a lifetime experience that you’ll talk about for years to come and keep with you forever.