GTFO on a Vacation!

Gem Lake and the Rocky Mountain National Park on a Colorado vacation last year.
We're lucky to have another guest post by Michael Bourke, the co-creator of SciCamps, which is currently in its very early stages, but aims to provide people with learning resources outside of the classroom. Michael is a former boy scout and is a current lover of the outdoors and nature.

Most of us enjoy going on vacation, but did you know that it is actually good for you? Planning and taking vacations can help you to be happier, no matter whether you travel to distant lands or stick close to home for a “staycation.” The act of planning time away from work and focusing on yourself and relaxing, in whatever manner you prefer, makes you happy and reduces stress.



Physical Benefits of Vacations
There are many physical benefits to taking a vacation, including getting out from behind a desk. Vacationers tend to walk around and be more physically active than while at work, and this improves your blood pressure and, believe it or not, your diet. Getting out into fresh air also increases your levels of happy hormones, decreasing blood pressure. Seeing and discovering new things also causes the brain to form new connections, which stimulates your brain function. All these physical benefits can lead to a healthier you.

Emotional Benefits of Vacations
Emotional and mental benefits of taking a vacation include meeting new people and forming social connections, whether with fellow travelers or locals from your visited destination. Getting out of your comfort zone and trying new things also improves your mood and feelings of creativity. You feel gratitude for your own life when you see others who are struggling and making their lives work. This enables you to rethink your own experiences as you gain a new understanding of others and yourself in relation to them.

Meeting new people and seeing how others live can help you see the world from a new perspective and form new coping mechanisms. Seeing different cultures and ways of life can spark a new way of thinking about your own life and how you can connect to others and reconnect to yourself. It reminds you of the true essence of life, which is bigger than our day to day difficulties.

Addiction Recovery
These benefits can also assist those who are traveling as part of an addiction recovery program. When you see the world through new eyes and see yourself as a tiny part of the world, your problems are put into a different perspective. Seeing how others deal with harsh conditions on a daily basis can enable you to see your stressors in a new light and see yourself as “fixable,” and also as worthy of being well. Traveling helps you develop gratitude by seeing yourself in relation to the world around you and putting your own problems into a more balanced perspective.

Once you see yourself in relation to others and how you fit into the broader world, you are better able to be flexible in looking at your own life and journey. Life is about self-discovery and personal growth, and sometimes we get caught up in focusing on the bad things and forget to think about what’s right in our lives. Getting away for a vacation reminds us that the world is bigger than we are, and we are a small but important part of the many experiences happening on it. Embracing our journey as seeing it as a changeable, flowing progression that we can affect can be quite powerful. Seeing ourselves as an agent of change in our life, enabling us to work on who and what we want to be, rather than an inevitable resolution of our previous choices and experiences, can help us work towards making our life what we want it to be. Stepping outside of our daily routine by taking a vacation can be the first step in creating the life we want to live. Go for it.

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