Some Benefits of a Vacation on Your Mental Health
I’m writing this from a hotel room in Atlanta, Georgia. I’m here for a week to go to a metal festival, and I’m having the time of my life. I don’t often take many out of state vacations, for a number of reasons, but being here reminds me of how much of a benefit going away really is.
The Benefit of a Vacation: Escape
The greatest benefit to going away on vacation is the potential to escape the mundanity of normal life. Honestly, you could live in the coolest city in the world, but in time, the weight of everyday existence will get to you.
On vacation, nothing is mundane, because wherever you decide to go, everything will be exotic, in some sense. It allows you to see the world through fresh eyes, to perhaps rediscover the magic of life that the drudgery of the everyday causes you to forget.
Indulgence as a Benefit of a Vacation
For me though, the greatest benefit of a vacation is the opportunity to indulge -- in food, in nice hotels, in whatever strikes my fancy. In my normal life, I don’t often spend a lot of money -- both because I’m a naturally cautious person, and because suddenly not having enough money to function is one of my greatest stressors.
Even when I spend a little bit of money on something nice, like a new CD or video game, I rack my brain trying to justify what I’m doing, even though realistically I’m only spending less than $50. So even when I’m trying to treat myself, I can’t fully enjoy it because the justification isn’t usually there.
Vacations break that cycle. I don’t allow myself to get caught up in a financial panic. I dropped upwards of $80 in less than an hour last night and it didn’t bother me at all.
That, I think, is important. Vacations are an opportunity to treat yourself like royalty when so often you feel like a peasant. It sounds so basic, but treating yourself with that kind of respect is essential to function in a healthy way. If vacations are the easiest way to break that mundanity, to remind yourself of the importance of self-indulgence, then it is to everyone’s benefit to take a vacation.
DeSalvo, T. (2019, September 5). Some Benefits of a Vacation on Your Mental Health, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, February 20 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2019/9/some-benefits-of-a-vacation-on-your-mental-health
Author: TJ DeSalvo
I think your point about vacations "breaking the cycle" is a key one for us to all pause with for a moment. Actual vacations are of course an ideal thing for us all to regularly incorporate into our regular lives, but if/when that isn't possible I also like the idea of finding ways to break the cycle in small instances throughout our daily and weekly lives. Perhaps we treat ourselves to a long lunch one day, or a massage, or guilt-free movie and snacks night. Whatever does it for you I love the idea of remembering what vacation does for our mental and emotional health and how we can try to incorporate more of that.
That's exactly it. But the tragedy is that so many people feel so guilty about taking any time for themselves that they won't do it. Like they're so concerned about satisfying their superiors at their jobs they willingly overwork themselves, which is terrible. Taking a break is not a luxury - it's an essential component of living a healthy life. There needs to be a major cultural shift toward such a mindset.