Hit The Road: How Travel Helps Depression

Feeling burned out? You’re not alone. Even before the pandemic, Americans have been on a hamster wheel that prioritizes work over self-care, and it shows. However, there’s nothing quite like a vacation to help you refresh your perspective and bring some joy into your life and get you out of a rut. Just the act of looking forward to a planned trip can have positive effects on your mental health if you’re currently stressed out. This study from Psychological Science indicates that people were overall happier when they anticipated spending money on an upcoming trip instead of buying a physical item.

Plus, research shows that those who travel more often are less likely to experience stress and depression. We’re all stuck in our day-to-day routines, and shaking up that predictable schedule (as well as giving your brain a break from work) can positively impact your mental health. Beyond helping those with depression, it can also lift your mood and provide an escape — from the anticipation of the trip to the afterglow when you get home. Even a short weekend trip can allow you to reap the benefits, so ditch the staycation and pack your suitcases!

It can help you get creative

If you’re experiencing a creative block, getting out of your comfort zone via novel experiences on a trip may help reignite it. If you’re stuck in a rut, traveling can provide much-needed distance from a situation, allowing you to feel more hopeful and experience a new perspective.

Get closer to your loved ones

Work-life balance is key to thriving as a human being, and travel is great for bringing couples, friends, and family closer together. This is probably because you’re spending more time doing leisure activities together, and that also means post-vacation bliss and better communication when you get back home.

Connect with the present

When you’re stressed out, there are a lot of thoughts racing through your mind. This causes an inability to connect with the present. However, traveling gives way to a brand-new environment. This allows people to make a stronger connection with their surroundings, the present moment, and the people they’re with.

Remember, it’s important to relax and reset! Doing so is smart for your mental health in the long run and can help you reap all the benefits of traveling. That being said, it’s not exactly the most affordable approach to bettering your mental health, so be aware that you don’t need to buy a flight to Cancun to experience benefits. It can be a camping trip, an overnight in a city you’ve always wanted to go to, or a spa retreat that really allows you to unwind.

There are so many different ways to recharge in a way that’s meaningful for you. Explore the globe and its diverse foods, cultures, and natural landscape — and no, traveling for work doesn’t count!

-Naima Karp

Photo: Leah Kelley (

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Naima Karp is a New York City native, and currently resides in Toronto, Canada with a remote career as a writer. She’s been completing content for nearly a decade on all things empowerment, relationship, fashion, and lifestyle-related. She has roots in many pots, being 1/2 Russian and 1/2 Pakistani, and hopes to learn as much as she can about other cultures while developing her presence as an author further.

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