Photo via Pixabay by Foundry
For millions of Americans, stress, depression, and anxiety take a daily toll and make even simple tasks difficult to perform. These feelings can become overwhelming during certain times and can affect our relationships, our job performance, and our self-esteem. For some, the temptation to engage in unhealthy practices--such as substance abuse--can seem like the perfect escape in the moment, but in reality they only make things worse.
Struggling with mental health issues can make you feel exhausted, sad, and drained of energy. Depression can affect you physically, creating aches and pains that make it hard just to get out of bed in the morning. If you’ve been battling these feelings, think about taking some time off for yourself. Use those vacation days wisely and do something just for you, such as travel. Hitting the road can have multiple positive effects on your mood and emotional state, so think carefully about where you want to go, and pack a bag.
Water can have healing benefits
There’s a reason so many people flock to the beaches; water can have calming, restorative powers. In fact, many studies have been performed by neurocognitive scientists on just how beneficial water can be for our brains. In most of these studies, the participants favored the water and demonstrated improved moods and outlooks after being exposed to it. Several programs around the world have introduced people with mental and physical impairments, depression, and PTSD to water-based sports or activities to amazing results.
In the states, some of the best lesser-known beaches can be found in Florida and Alabama, where you can take a drive down the coast and find beauty everywhere you look. If you’re thinking about taking a trip and want to find the perfect location to relax in, there are plenty of options you can explore from the comfort of your own home before heading out - check here to get started. If you’re bringing along your furry friend, be sure you find accommodations that are pet-friendly.
Feeling stuck in a rut?
Traveling can help with that. If you’re a creative person--or someone who has always wanted to be--going someplace different and having new experiences can really help your brain open up to the muse. One of the best ways to do this is to explore and immerse yourself in the local culture. You don’t have to leave the country to do this; a simple road trip to a new city or state can show you all kinds of possibilities. Writers and artists swear by this method, and the upside is that having a creative outlet will allow you to practice mindful thinking, a way to focus on the present rather than worrying about the past or future.
Traveling to a new and unfamiliar place can help ease stress because you are actively leaving behind routines and the usual environments.
“There are lots of psychological benefits from change of venue from home and work to ‘third places’ devoted to just experiencing the environment,” says Dr. Margaret J. King, director of the Center for Cultural Studies & Analysis. “With a short list of activities each day, freed up from the complexities of ongoing projects and relationships, the mind can reset, as does the body, with stress relief the main outcome.”
Traveling can be a great way to discover new passions, meet new people, and leave all the stresses of daily life behind. It’s not temporary, either; many people who travel report positive changes in their mood in general once they return, and planning trips can give you something to look forward to.
So what are you waiting for? Do your research today! Decide upon the best destination for you, and your family (including your pets if you’re so inclined), and make plans so you’ll have no worries while you’re away.
~ Aurora James of www.rei.com
People take vacations to relieve stress and enjoy the holidays with their families. Sadly, some out-of-town vacations cause so much stress, you’d be better off staying home. Here are some tips for keeping the adventure in your holiday getaway and keeping the kinks out.
Some people think that too much planning is the enemy of fun, but most vacations benefit from at least some degree of forethought. Minimally, you need to know where you are staying for at least the first leg of the journey. Use Priceline.com and Expedia.com to book accommodation.
Make sure you have backup currency. You need cash as well as at least one debit and one credit card, in case one of them flukes or you get mugged. Don’t keep all of your cards on your person at any one time.
Don’t pack at the last minute. Take the time to make a packing list at least two days before travel, and pack the night before so you don’t forget your toothbrush in your panic to get out the door.
If you are flying, get to the airport the recommended one hour before a domestic and two hours before an international flight. Keep in mind that nobody sails through security. You stand in line, you take your shoes off, you deal with the ego of TSA agents. You need time for all of that.
Print out all the documents you need: plane tickets, maps, itinerary, reservations, etc. It’s all well and chic to pull up your boarding pass on your cell phone, but what if your phone dies? Have printed back ups to be safe.
Leave work at home
You’re taking a break to get away from your stress, so don’t be checking emails and calling the office. Be sure to instruct office colleagues to call you only in an emergency.
Leave work papers at home and replace them in your life with a paperback or an audio book. Use your cell phone to watch a movie rather than send a text.
The same goes for your inner monologue. If you find yourself thinking about a work problem, forgive yourself, but then focus on the present and what you are doing right now. This can become a habit, and your family will thank you for being present on your vacation with them.
Make sure your home is safe
Nothing undermines your holiday enjoyment like worrying about whether somebody is breaking into your house or setting your garage on fire. Take whatever steps you need to rest easy on that front. These steps may include:
Taking a few precautions guarantees you will have a dream vacation rather than one that seems like it was planned by Clark Griswold. Safe travels this holiday season!
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.
~ Aurora James of www.rei.com