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Need a break The Mental Health Benefits of Vacation

Guy sits by the pool on vacation

COVID-19 has turned the world upside down. People started working from home, events were postponed until further notice, and vacation was canceled. Now that the vaccines are being given, restrictions are being relaxed, and summer is approaching, it may be time to plan a trip.

The Importance of Vacation to Mental Health

If you fancy a vacation, you are not alone. After being mostly locked up at home, many people experience cabin fever, and after over a year of overwhelming pandemic stress, anxiety, and loss, we could all use a break. Not only is a trip a great way to get away, but it can also have several mental health benefits.

1. Reduce depression

Another mental health benefit of a vacation can be that travel helps depression. In 2019, 6.5% of American adults reported symptoms of depression, but by the end of 2020 that number rose closer to 30%.2 Today, more than ever, people need help with depression, and research suggests that vacation can relieve symptoms of depression. Specifically, a study of lawyers found that vacations can significantly reduce depression and reduce symptoms more effectively than passive leisure activities.3

2. Relieve stress

In addition to the imminent threat of COVID, many people were overwhelmed by balancing childcare, school, work, relationships, finances, and self-care. If you are in a “go, go, go” state for an extended period of time, your body and mind do not have time to relax. Taking a vacation can reduce stress by removing people from stressful environments. Even a short vacation can reduce perceived stress and strain for up to 45 days after the end of the trip.1

3. Reduce anxiety

A survey conducted in late December 2020 found that around 37% of American adults had symptoms of anxiety. This value is well above the 8.1% in 2019.2 Anxiety can be exacerbated by stress and a person’s day-to-day obligations, so a trip on vacation can help reduce a person’s level of anxiety.

4. Reconnect with loved ones

Especially when you are trying to cope with anxiety or depression, you may sniff at or distance yourself from loved ones, but your relationships with others can have a huge impact on your own mental health. In addition to the direct psychological benefits of vacation time, traveling with your family or someone else can also help strengthen your relationships. Whether you’re taking a solo trip to recharge your batteries or a family vacation to reconnect, both types of vacation can help your relationships and, therefore, your mental health.

5. Improving general well-being

In addition to reducing specific mental illness symptoms, one of the greatest psychological benefits of taking a vacation is its impact on a person’s general wellbeing. Several studies show that taking a vacation can improve a person’s wellbeing and perceived quality of life, but unfortunately, these improvements cannot last long after they have returned to their normal daily lives.4th

Today, more than ever, people need to focus on their mental health. While vacation can have some temporary mental health benefits, one trip may not be enough. If you are having difficulty, you may need other help. At Vertava Health, our behavioral health treatment centers are there for you. We offer different types of programs to help you feel happier again.

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