Stressed? Tired? Lost? A holiday is nearly always the answer. Be it on an adventure through the Andes or while reclining on a pristine beach in the Caribbean, the benefits of travelling are ever-present. But how exactly does a holiday help the body and mind?
We sleep more
The advantages of sleeping are numerous, yet getting the right amount of shut-eye in the modern world is easier said than done. Usually while on holiday the alarm clock is also on a break; therefore, we often get to enjoy a few much-needed lie-ins. Aside from the extra time under the covers in the morning, we also nap more. This may seem less productive, however, a study at NASA on tired military pilots and astronauts found that a 40-minute trip to the land of nod improved performance by 34%, and alertness by a whopping 100%. Additionally, the lasting benefits of sleeping well range from decreasing the risk of heart attacks to preventing cancer.
We break our routine
How many times in the last month have you trekked the same path and eaten the same breakfast? Yes, we’re creatures of habit, yet sometimes a break in the routine is just what we need. According to Benedict Carey, author of the book How We Learn, changing your daily habits and surroundings can make your brain more effective and improve memory. Taking this into account, our multi-centre holidays brimming with different cities, tourist attractions, and coastlines will really get that grey matter whirring.
We live in the present
Various studies have shown that we are more likely to daydream when doing everyday tasks. What’s wrong with this you might say, well, in fact, a study conducted at Harvard University claims that a wandering mind is not a happy mind. Luckily for us, a holiday has all the right ingredients to keep you in the here and now; the wealth of new experiences, different scenery, and the varying daily structures all encourage our minds to engage more.
We strengthen family bonds
The constraints of modern life can weigh heavily on family relationships. So, one of the benefits of travelling is that spending time with your family is one of a few priorities you have. Apart from spending more time together, shared, new experiences also solidify bonds. We only need to look at the effect of team-building exercises in modern workplaces to understand that this can work on our in-house ‘team’.
We leave our comfort zone
In foreign lands, the most mundane tasks can be challenging. For example, finding when the next boat leaves is no mean feat when you barely speak the language. However, a study at the Centre for Economics and Neuroscience at the University of Bonn, Germany, showed that the more effort involved the sweeter the reward – maybe this is why Fanta always tastes better while on holiday.
Stepping out of your comfort zone may also lead you to crave more risks. This can be due to reasons such as wanting to show-off your exploits to friends back home, the freedom to reinvent yourself and making the most of opportunities not readily in your everyday life. Obviously, we advise that you weigh-up the dangers before diving in headfirst, but, as the late, great Eleanor Roosevelt said: “Do one thing every day that scares you.”
We meet new people
Rubbing shoulders with others on holidays is extremely beneficial. Firstly, you can get different perspectives on life; this is especially true when chatting with people from different countries. Secondly, you’re more likely to be introduced to new opportunities. And, thirdly, sharing your worries also does wonders to eliminate stress. Research from Michigan State University in April 2017 found that friendships are more likely to positively influence your mood than family.
So, ready to invest in your health?