Just in case you needed another reason to go on holiday, science says that taking a well-earned break is good for your health.1 Hooray!
You don’t have to book a dedicated wellness holiday to reap the benefits, either. A regular holiday could bring about all of these amazing mental health benefits.
5 health benefits of holidays
1. Get your vitamin D fix
If you’re swanning off somewhere lovely and sunny, you’ll be soaking up plenty of vitamin D, something which many of us become deprived of in the UK during the winter months. Otherwise known as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D not only helps to alleviate symptoms of seasonal affective disorder but also keeps bones, teeth and muscles healthy. We only require a short burst of unprotected sunlight for our bodies to produce the vitamin D we need; after that it’s important to use sunscreen.
2. Feel your stress melt away
From work stress to getting the kids organised, there’s a lot to stay on top of in our everyday lives. Holidays are a great way to escape responsibilities and obligations for a week or two, which can in turn help to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body. Repeated elevation of cortisol can lead to indigestion, weight gain and even increased risk of heart attack, highlighting the importance of taking some time out.
3. Experience the power of positivity
The positive effects of a holiday don’t start when you board the plane or arrive at your destination; often they kick in from the moment you confirm your booking. Having something to look forward to can make you feel lighter, brighter and more motivated – and of course, once you do step off the plane, the prospect of relaxation is likely to take those positive vibes to the next level!
4. Immerse yourself in new surroundings
Being somewhere new is the perfect antidote to the everyday stresses of your daily routine. Wherever you decide to go, new surroundings and experiences can provide a great opportunity to take a step back, slow down and live in the 'now'.
5. Soothe your senses
You may be used to street noise and the dull roar of traffic back home, so indulging your senses with new sounds can make a pleasant change. The sound of water – whether that’s gently lapping waves, the breeze brushing across the hotel pool or a trickling stream in the forest – is incredibly soothing and can have amazing meditative capabilities. Using all your senses helps you stay in the moment and keeps stress at bay – so remember to look, listen, taste and just enjoy everything around you.
1. *According to a 2016 study published in Translational Psychiatry https://www.nature.com/articles/tp2016164