15 Mental Health Benefits of Traveling

Extensive traveling not only takes a toll on your body aka jet lag but also your mind. Jet lag is caused by two things - crossing time zones (especially flying east) and dehydration. You cannot control the time zones but you can control dehydration. If you are on the road for business, then staying mentally sharp is imperative. You don't want to lose your edge.

To do that, there are a few do’s and don’ts that include caffeine, alcohol, water and petroleum jelly. Even if you are vacationing, you still should stay alert to enjoy everything and soak up the memories. Beaches are one of the favorite visiting spots of people. There are incredible beaches around the world which are worth visiting. Below are some of the reasons why traveling to fascinating places keeps you calm.

People suffer from so many traumas that they find it hard to resist to the combustion of anxiety and depression. For how many of you find it tough to mingle with others? What will it take to go out on a Friday night instead of ducking inside the blanket texting you are busy?

mental health benefits of traveling

In this article, we will explore how to stay mentally sharp while traveling.

1. Take Time to Rest Your Mind and Body

Travelling makes you more relaxed, healthier, makes you happier with life, keep the mind calm and the most important it helps to make live a longer. Travelling allows you to experience new cultures, learn and do new things, spend quality time with your travelling partner or family and increase awareness. Planning a vacation has such a positive influence that it can reduce stress and anxiety almost immediately.

Traveling is exciting and filled with adventures around every corner, but it can also be mentally exhausting. You'll want to take time to rest by getting at least eight hours of sleep or an afternoon nap. Slumber keeps your mind alert and functioning at full capacity. If possible arrive a day early. It gives your body some time to recover and reduces stress about late arrivals.

2. Enjoy Some Relaxing Tunes

When traveling, you might have a hard time relaxing. Maybe it's the change in time zones or just an unsettled routine. The key to sleeping is to relax and music is a great way to ease anxiety. Listen to your favorite tunes softly to help you slip into a restful slumber. You can download music on your phone, laptop, tablet, or computer prior to your trip.

3. Enjoy a Workout

Are you facing a lengthy plane, train, or auto ride? Sitting for long periods of time can sap the energy out of anyone. Working out gets your heart pumping and your blood flowing. It will help reduce your restlessness and ease stress prior to embarking on your journey. Traveling unsettles your body’s circadian clock which is the leading cause of insomnia and jet lag.

However, research shows that a good workout can actually strengthen your circadian clock so you don’t suffer so much as you cross the various time zones.

Interesting reads: How to Reduce Stress While Traveling

4. Stay Hydrated with water

Drink water, lots of it. Accept a glass every time it is offered and bring on a large bottle with you. Make sure you get on the plane well hydrated. Hydration affects more than just your level of thirst. If your body requires H20 then you can become moody and irritable. You also might have a hard time thinking clearly. Drink plenty of water to battle brain fog and you will see an instant improvement in your cognitive abilities.

5. Do not drink alcohol

It interrupts your sleep patterns and is dehydrating. If you are flying, the lounge might be calling your name. Perhaps you are envisioning a cold beer, crisp mixed drink, or a shot of whiskey. However, it’s important to limit your consumption of alcohol. Alcohol dehydrates the body, can cause a headache, upset your stomach, and fog your mind.

6. Pack a Few Snacks

It’s hard to concentrate if your stomach is growling and you can’t think of anything but food. Waiting for an airline to serve a meal can feel like torture. Packing a few healthy snacks balances your mood and gives you a greater feeling of wellbeing. Snacks like apple slices, crackers, celery, cheese, or some other quick meal, is a great idea at any time of day.

Healthy snacks help you make it between meals so you can focus on other things besides your overpowering hunger.

7. Turn to Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy has a long history of providing healthful benefits to those who take the time to do it. Inhaling an invigorating scent will uplift your mood and wake you up, and it can even calm you down. Aromatherapy is a great way to stave off drowsiness and restore your mental abilities. My recommendation: try a zesty lemon or soothing lavender scent and you will not regret it.

8. Say NO to Caffeine

Avoid caffeine, on the flight and even before you get to the airport. If you start to mentally slip, then it might seem natural to turn to black coffee or caffeine spiked energy drinks, but aside from a quick pick-me-up, it will never last long. Afterward, you will start to crash and feel even worse than you did before. Instead of drinking caffeine, sip on a piping hot cup of peppermint tea or juice.

Research has found that a drink like a peppermint tea can improve cognitive abilities and memory, which is very important while on the road. If you must turn to coffee, then do not overdo it with a mega-sized brew. Instead, ingest small amounts of coffee throughout the day to maintain your mental awareness.

9. Indulge in a Power Nap

Yes, it’s hard to sleep when you are traveling, which is why many people grow tired and foggy early on in their travels. However, taking time out for a 20-minute power nap throughout the day might be just what you need. Make sure you are rested when you get on the plane - starting out tired will exacerbate your fatigue.

Sleeping on a plane is nearly impossible. Some people swear by prescription sleep products or OTC products such as Nyquil or Benedril. Do what works best for you. Even if you can’t sleep, rest. Eye masks, neck pillows, ear plugs can help. Do not sleep on a daytime flight.

10. If You Can't Exercise, Then Stretch

Stretching in your seat gets your blood flowing, loosens muscles, and eases painful knots. It might not seem like much, but consistently stretching can help you keep a limber physique. Try stretching every 20 minutes if you are confined to an airline seat or bus. You don’t even have to leave your seat to stretch and it can make a huge difference to how your body feels.

11. Anxiety is as Serious as Any Other Problem.

Feeling lost is not the ultimate stage but giving up hope is. In order to move forward, bring yourself out of the backbencher seat and put yourself in the light of attention. It may not be easy to move forward but accepting our inner fears can help us elevate our freedom from useless fears, bouts of depression and free our will from the cage of anxiety.

Travelling, as they say, can be therapeutic and many have found themselves to heal from it. Let's be honest here, shall we? It might be the final solution, or in some cases, it might worsen the condition but hope for changing into something better is always a good option. And there's no harm in trying to change the locations for your good and mental well-being.

Travelling can be an experience full of nurture and nature, impeding its way round grey areas that you need to get rid of. Once you are able to do it than you can really live it up. Finding ways to get rid of anxiety is not impossible.

12. Overcoming Panic Attacks

It's easy to panic when the idea of going to a new place sets in your mind and the best thing to overcome that panic attack is using some relaxing techniques that are helpful in such a stressful condition. Breathing techniques as such are the easiest and hence, the most common of all.

Just pack some paper bags with you and blow inside the paper bag to control your breathing or bet yet when travelling try to focus on your breathing rate. Whatever you do just stay calm and focus on the breathing. The more you clear your head the merrier you will be on your holiday.

13. Keep Toys

Sounds horrific? Childish and such? Why would I bring a toy? Being a grown-up is easy unless you have sudden panic attacks and depression anxiety while travelling. Stress balls are a way to help with your anxiety if you keep squeezing the life out of it. Or you can bring a fidgeter and keep pulling about it.

Thus, anything that is palm-sized can be really helpful in this case scenario. I remember bringing a cubic box with me during Morocco Holidays so that I will stop fidgeting on my flight because it makes me nervous a lot. So in order to overcome such dilemmas you have to put strong for yourself.

Other forms of distractions are always welcomed anyways whatever suits your probability and your choice.

14. Distract Yourself

Besides having some good therapy toys with you it's always a good idea to keep yourself distracted in travelling. Something might trigger your inner depression or anything could stress out you (even a long haul journey) so you need to relax. You need to calm your negative thoughts and focus on how to deal while being far away from home.

Because such feelings always pass, sometimes it takes time and sometimes it doesn't. Try to focus on happier things, in my case scenario I loved reading books on a beach and cozying up with a coconut drink in the other hand.

15. Cognitive Tests to Stay Mentally Alert

My final tip is something you may not have heard of but can be a huge help to anybody who is traveling. Online cognitive tests not only help you stay mentally alert and challenged, but they are also fun and meaningful. Staying alert while traveling is important and these tests can see just how effective your brain functions.

Traveling can knock your cognitive abilities out of whack (especially if you are on the road for a long while) and these types of online tests are a great way to continuously stimulate yourself.

We all love traveling, but it’s very rarely permanent so staying alert and sharp is important – these above tips can help you keep thinking. Some of the ideas might work better for certain people and others for different individuals, so don’t be afraid to try out a few and figure out a routine that fits you.

You will just have to figure out which one is best for your unique needs. After that, you won’t need to worry about losing your sharpness, no matter how long you are on the road. Managing travelling with anxiety is as easy as you want it to be. Nothing can be taken for granted but always keep your spirit high in the wind, so that you can touch the sky and come to love it instead of fearing it.

Keep calm and keep inspiring yourself to travel the world.
Kalyan Panja