Are holidays good for our mental health?

Jenny Cookman on 23 May 2020
Going on holiday has some great health benefits. We can’t travel at the moment, but that shouldn’t stop us looking forward to taking a break when we can. We will explore more below as well as showing you some fun examples of how you can holiday at home, whilst you can’t get away.

1. Escapism from your everyday routine

Do you sometimes feel weighed down by the everyday routine? We all have so much to juggle in our lives, from work, relationships, home life and anything else we have signed up to. It’s no wonder that, every so often, it all becomes a bit much. When you need a break, a little holiday getaway is just the medicine. It is so important to take a break and pause from all those daily demands.

Holidays create escapism from everyday routine, helping you relax and recuperate They create pleasure and a much-needed distraction, especially if you live a hectic lifestyle. Upon your return home, you should feel newly energised and ready to tackle everything life throws at you.

2. You can avoid burnout

Burnout can affect anyone. When work is hard and you are always giving to others, it can feel closer than ever. You begin to feel drained and unmotivated. By giving yourself a regular holiday, you can avoid feeling rundown and give yourself a chance to recharge.

When you’re emotionally and mentally exhausted, do you function at your best? The importance of taking regular breaks during your working day is well known, helping maintain brain function and ensure we are productive as possible. The same can be said for holidays; not only should we take regular breaks in a working day, but we should also take a prolonged holiday to let our minds switch off completely. When we return to work or studies, our mind will be sharper and more creative again.

3. It gives you that positive ‘boost’

How great is that feeling when you book your next holiday? When you have the dates in the diary, it gives you something to count down until and look forward to. It is also a way of rewarding ourselves and boosting our self-esteem too. We are reminding ourselves that we are worthy of a holiday.

4. Being active aids mental health and wellbeing

We all know the perks of exercise on our bodies physically, but it’s just as important for our mental health too. A calming regular daily walk does wonders in boosting our mood and calming our anxieties. Going on holiday usually gives us a chance to be more active, whether that’s exploring the local culture or going for a swim in the pool or sea. You can take in, appreciate and enjoy the sights at your holiday destination; this is such a great activity to aid a positive mindset.

5. It dampens stress levels and opens your mind to new horizons

If stress is something you experience regularly, then it is worth knowing than scientists at the University of California and Harvard have found evidence that just six days away causes genetic changes which dampens stress and boosts your immune system. Travelling and taking a holiday really can reduce stress and depression.

It opens your mind to new horizons; when you are on holiday you are absorbing the sights and experiences around you using your five senses. You become more culturally aware, learning about the place you have chosen to visit. This will lead to personal growth and an increase in creativity that also reduces anxiety.

What if I can’t go on holiday right now?

So, what can you do to have fun, feel relaxed and enjoy all the things you already have around you? How about a ‘staycation’. Book a week off work or studies and get ready to boost your mental health from a much-needed vacation without having to travel. The best thing is, you won’t need to pack or wait at the airport. You can relax straight away. Here are some ideas on what you can achieve from home:

Become a tourist in your own hometown

Do you really know the sights in your own hometown? Why not go on a trip, walking around your local town or city and really take it all in. Go down roads and alleys you may not have before; you’d be surprised at the hidden local gems you can find. If you’re out in the countryside or forest, try and explore new pathways and walks.

Host a themed cooking night

Treat your household to a special themed cooking night. You could whip up a Mexican dish and serve up Margaritas. Or what about a beer and curry evening? Research the country you have chosen to learn some fun facts and try and include some themed games too. You could also share this experience with others via zoom.

Go camping!

Pitch a tent in your garden and toast marshmallows on a campfire. This is such a fun idea for families and allows children to get used to camping, especially if they have been unsure about the idea. Having the house within reach will reassure them but still give a wonderful experience.

Host your own festival

Whether it’s film or music, you can host your own festival. You can get a projector and play films in the garden and lay out blankets and cushions to watch them on. Or, if the typically British weather is spoiling plans, relocate to the lounge. You can do the same for music. Get onto Spotify and choose live music playlists. You never know, you may find some great music you’d never heard of before! You could also get some glow sticks for the evening.

Get tropical in the garden

Just because you can’t go to that tropical beach location that you’d been dreaming of, doesn’t mean you can’t recreate the effect at home. Set up a paddling pool, invest in some sand and create a beach look at home. You can lay and sunbathe, enjoy a cocktail or two whilst the children splash about. Why not invest in some Hawaiian dressing up gear? You’d really look and feel the part then.

Create a spa at home

Why not get your pampering products out and set up your own spa from home? This is the perfect way to have some time out and make yourself feel pampered. You can get some great foot spas for home use, and as you won’t have to splash out on a proper spa day, why not invest in one of these? Prepare some healthy snacks and a jug of your favourite cool drink.

Holidays really are great for your mental health. They give that much needed break from our modern, hectic lives and provide a chance to open our minds to new experiences. Holidays boost our happiness and provide pleasurable experiences. But, when you are unable book a holiday, there are other ways to achieve this break and boost your mental health and wellbeing at home.