How Our Vacation Affects Our Psychological Well-being?

 

Vacationing with loved ones at the end of each year, research has shown, is very beneficial and helpful for your mental health and overall well-being. A period of jolly respite, where we can break free from our daily hassles and demands, is something we all need and look forward to at the end of the day. For most of us, it’s simply the promise of –  visiting exotic places, road trips, adventure sports or simply lazying on our favourite couch sipping at hot chocolate while reading a book –  that motivates us to hang on!

A German research found that one short vacation of four consecutive days decreased stress and strain levels, which consequently improved overall well-being significantly.

Studies have found that taking a vacation has similar biological impacts as meditation. This is in response to the increase in Dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain which results in a more positive and a happy mood.

Some Benefits Of Taking Vacation 

  1. physical improvements – Researchers have reported that sleep quality, mood, and overall energy is improved.
  2. Creativity –  Cognitive flexibility – a component of creativity that enhances and improves the ability to adapt our thinking to face new and unexpected conditions in our environment.
  3. Career-  Higher degree of job involvement coupled with decreased job stress makes for a happier and harder worker when returning back home.
  4. Life Satisfaction-  Individuals evaluate life satisfaction based on their social life, family life, love life, work life, spiritual life, intellectual life, culinary life and travel life.

A study in Australia suggested that improvements in life satisfaction such as work-life balance, decreased time pressure and better mental health are influenced by holidays.

Tips To Boost Vacation Benefits 

  1. Plan an easy return to work- Make sure you have a plan in advance to return back to work, to avoid overwhelming work loads.
  2. Don’t be a Narcissist-  Higher levels of narcissism is linked with larger differences between what one expects a holiday to be and what one experiences. It’s best to avoid any expectations and just go with the flow
  3. Avoid working during your vacation- The point of being on a vacation is to not work and working compulsively during your vacation is just an open invitation for stress to ruin a holiday.  
  4. Try eating healthy and keep active- letting loose is something we all like to do during vacations nevertheless, it is important to keep your diet in check. People who often try to eat healthy during vacations feel more energetic, confident and more optimistic throughout the trip.

However, it is important to understand that vacation is not a solution or cure for someone who has a mental illness. Someone suffering from depression could take a trip somewhere in the alps in Switzerland, may forget his/her worries or anxieties during the trip, but can suffer a relapse wherein his state is significantly worse than it was originally when he returns and tries to get back to his routine. Professional help for these people should be the first priority.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5800229/

https://psychcentral.com/blog/how-vacations-really-boost-physical-and-mental-health/

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