Summertime, and the living is easy…!  I’m sure you can picture yourself on a beach somewhere sipping on drink with a tiny umbrella.  If the beach isn’t your thing, maybe a nice quiet house in the mountains breathing the crisp mountain air. Or, maybe you prefer the hustle and bustle of a city, and exploring the endless sights, sounds and smells.  I’m sure at this point many of you are thinking “Hmm I should book a trip somewhere!  It would be nice to get away!”  Well, it turns out that you should in fact take that trip!  Travel is great for your mental health.  Below are some of the ways that travel is good for your mental health.

Helps reduce stress – Being away from sitting in traffic jams, dishes in the sick, and the day-to-day routines of everyday life can help you relax and recharge. Relaxing helps decrease the levels of cortisol, the body’s stress hormone, which helps us feel calmer. In a 2013 study, 80% of respondents said travel improves their general mood, and 75% said travel helps them reduce stress!

Increase Creativity – Exploring new landscapes, cultures, and languages can help boost your creativity.  Adam Galinsky, a researcher and author on creativity and international travel says “Foreign experiences increase both cognitive flexibility and depth and integrativeness of thought.”  Travel helps change your perspective, helps you see the world in a new way, and helps with problem solving skills.

Increases Resiliency – Dealing with travel delays, and learning new transit system, all in a new environment, helps you get out of your comfort zone. There are also feelings of accomplishment that come with navigating the challenges that arrive.

Increases Productivity – A Harvard study of 400 travelers found that 94% of respondents had more energy when coming back from a trip! Taking a break can help you reach those career goals!

If you don’t have a lot of time or money to spend on travel – remember that you do not need to go far! A day or weekend trip to a local place that you have always been meaning to check out will bring the benefits as well. A quick change of scenery can work all the wonders! When you get back from vacation, try to remember the peaceful moments, or some of the more fun experiences that you had while away – that can help you keep in touch with the more meaningful parts of life, when your day-to-day becomes ho-hum.

While travel can help boost your mood, you should not rely on travel alone to meet your mental health needs. Always talk to a licensed professional if you find yourself overwhelmed and needing help.

So, take the opportunity to reduce some stress, boost your creativity, and get out of your comfort zone! Life is short – take the trip!

Staff Blogger: Stephanie Reaves, Peer Services Educator

Stephanie grew up in the Philadelphia area and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Princeton University in New Jersey. She is currently a student at Bryn Mawr College earning her Masters in Social Service.

Stephanie enjoys being active in her community, and began volunteering at health fairs and other community events with MHA in 2017 after healing from her own struggles with mental health and substance abuse.

Stephanie officially joined the team as a Peer Educator in 2019. She enjoys hiking, cooking, writing, and reading anything she can get her hands on. She believes in the power of kindness and empathy to make a difference in the lives of others, and is involved in her church community and in various 12-Step programs in the area.