Sure, vacations are fun, but what if I said they were necessary? Yep. Travel as self-care is the most necessary form of travel.

Travel as Self-Care

Original photo by Rocio Ramirez 

By now, I’m sure you’ve read a million blog posts about how self-care isn’t all bubble baths and face masks. And I agree 100%. That’s why I wrote this post about tough love self-care. It’s important to do the hard things to take care of yourself, and if you don’t, you’ll usually feel the consequences pretty quickly.

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So why am I going on about travel as self-care? Here’s why: You need to get away. I’m not going to bore you with stats about how overworked people are these days, and about how the average American doesn’t take the time off they need.

(I know this is also a function of privilege. It’s hard to take time off when you don’t get paid time off. And vacations aren’t cheap. But stick with me on this one. I plan to share a lot of super cheap travel opportunities/retreats next year because I believe that travel is really important for everyone.)

Because I believe travel is necessary, today I’m sharing the self-care benefits of travel. Sure, not every trip is going to be relaxing. Not every trip is going to expand your mind. Not every trip is going to be worth writing home about. But even so, you need those trips.

Travel as Self-Care

001: Travel gives you time away from the normal.

I think this is fairly obvious, and probably something that no one here is going to argue with. But the best part of a vacation is getting away from the normal, everyday things that wear you down. Sure, you can have a pretty good life that’s full of privilege, but I don’t think there’s anyone who wouldn’t want to get away from having to wash the dishes or drive through rush hour traffic.

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I know this is going to sound really lame, but sometimes it’s hard to just do daily things. Remember when Thoreau talked about how you needed to simplify because daily stuff fritters away at you? He was right. And while Walden Pond may not be your dream destination, you still need to get away from it all just like Thoreau did.

002: Routine disruption helps you re-evaluate the value of those routines.

Getting out of that normal day routine is like resetting your brain and giving you some time away from the habits you’ve built. And sure, we spend a lot of time and energy building habits to make our lives easier. But we don’t really think about how much time we spend stuck in habits that we’ve reinforced over time. I’m not saying this is bad. It’s incredibly necessary in a lot of cases. But what if it’s not?

I know that I, personally, have a ton of habits that I don’t even notice. Whether it’s the times of day when I absentmindedly check my phone, or when I grab some afternoon sugar whether I want it or not, I have habits that I’m not always in control of. But by disrupting those habits with a change of scenery and pace, I am better able to see what’s going on in my life. From there, I can re-evaluate what’s working and what’s not.

003: Any change gives you mental stimulation.

I have changed jobs a lot in my adult life, and some people don’t think that’s good. But it’s 2018, and it’s not like I’m going to get a huge pension and a gold watch from my employer if I stay there my whole life, so I do what I want. And while I’ve written about leaving jobs that were terrible, another reason I leave a job is because I’ve stopped learning and there’s no mental stimulation.

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Your comfort zone isn’t an inherently bad thing. It’s a safe space, and it’s important to stay in it when you need to. But if you want to continue learning and growing as a person, and aren’t in a position to change jobs, then travel is a great way to have new experiences that allow you to learn. And your trip doesn’t have to include trips to museums or historical sites. Sometimes, the change of scenery is enough to open your brain up to new information.

004: Down time away from work is important.

I feel like this point is obvious, and I won’t belabor it. But I will say this. You need down time. I know a lot of people feel like it’s important to say this just because we all live in this “hustle harder” era. And sure, if you’re a part of my generation, you probably have more than one job. You probably aren’t paid what you’re actually worth by your day job. And you probably have plans to go freelance full-time because you just want to feel mildly in control of your whole life.

I will never tell you not to hustle. But I will say that you need some time away from the hustle. Click To Tweet

And yeah. All that leads to the hustle mentality. And I will never tell you not to hustle. But I will say that you need some time away from the hustle. So taking a brief trip where you get to get away from generating leads or bidding on jobs or keeping your brand relevant is the best way to let you rest, so you can get back to the hustle and hit it hard.

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005: Change can leave you feeling more refreshed.

So, all the stuff I’ve said up to this point may have been super obvious. But I wanted to highlight it all because I think it’s easy to say that you don’t need vacations because real self-care is the hard work you do to make yourself better. And it is. But it’s also other stuff. Like small changes and breaks that make it easier for you to just be a person under normal circumstances.

So, if you feel worn down, and have no idea what to do about it, schedule a vacation. Or a staycation. I mean, travel is great because you get out of the normal, but if you can’t afford to travel, then just taking time for you is a good idea. But if you do want to travel, know that there are pretty affordable places like St. Francis of the Woods that you can visit to just get away.

Do You Travel for Self-Care?

How do you get away when you need self-care? What’s your favorite cheap getaway destination? What sort of trips leave you feeling the most refreshed?

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