THERE’S A REASON PEOPLE need vacations and recreation. Vacate and re-create! Think of it as a vaca-shun. Shun the things that bother you. Take in the new. When you’re away, don’t think about the old things that trouble your mind.
Have you ever taken your dogs on a car ride? They’re so excited. They’re not thinking about what flavor of dog food they want. They don’t stress eat. They aren’t thinking about how mean the cat is at home. They aren’t thinking about how their birth order in the litter affects them. They are just sniffing, whiffing, and looking at everything and everyone. The novelty is distracting all of their senses.
A change in scenery is even better for humans, particularly when you go to a place you’ve never been. It can actually re-set your brain in a positive way. If you’re feeling a little grumpy, travel helps with the flight/fight mechanism in your brain. The old saying, “getting away from it all” actually works, especially if you go where you want to go, not where you feel obligated to go.
Neuroscience tells us that travel releases dopamine, endorphins, and the kind of adrenaline that comes not only with the vacation itself, but the anticipation of it and the memories that linger. Vacations last a lifetime when you look at it that way. They leave imprints that are vivid and good.
Close your eyes and without too much thinking, see what comes to mind when you look through your brain’s catalog of places you’ve seen in magazines, books or online. What place makes you feel the best? You may see a beach. You may see yourself driving in the mountains or flying to a far away or exotic land. It might be cruise. You might see an adventure or see yourself relaxing.
If you choose to travel, you will feel better when you get back home. You will know there is life beyond your troubles. You may even get a bigger picture of the human condition and feel more connected to others even if they are very different than you.
We live in an area where some people save up for a lifetime to come, but you don’t need a lot of money here to find traveling pleasure. I remember when my parents were ill and I had caregiver fatigue. At least twice a month I took my brief “poor man’s tour” of the Walt Disney World Resort. I would take the monorail to watch the sunset on a hotel beach. I’d go to one of the resorts and walk. It helped me better care for my elderly parents when I saw children playing. It changed my perspective on life. Life is to be lived and lived well. It really is all about the journey. Find a destination and enjoy a vacation!
article by MARY JOYE, LMHC, PA
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mary Joye, LMHC, PA, is a licensed mental health counselor with offices in Lakeland and Winter Haven. She holds a master of arts degree in counseling from Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tenn. For more information, visit www.maryjoyecounseling.com.