This post was most recently updated on February 10th, 2020
Do you know of a loved one fighting depression? According to statistics from WHO, over 260 million people in the world are affected by depression. And it’s not surprising. There’s a lot of pressure around us. What with the TV always broadcasting lousy news, social media full of gloom and doom, shrinking economies, climate change and crime on the rise, many people are finding it hard to cope. Removing yourself from these triggers can have a huge effect. Keep reading to learn five ways travel helps fight depression…
Depression is sneaky
In most cases, depression sort of sneaks into people’s lives. It occurs when we are faced with situations that get us down in the dumps. Most times, we are too busy just handling life to realize what’s happening. Of course, there are times you are sad once in a while …that’s normal. But when you feel down for days on end, you probably have depression. Other signs of depression are suicidal thoughts and constant fatigue.
Many people use medication to manage depression. Unfortunately, being on medication doesn’t always help and sometimes, it can get a bit out of hand. Wouldn’t it feel better to try an organic solution that doesn’t require prescriptions or numerous sessions on a therapist’s couch? That’s where traveling comes in. If you are dealing with depression, going to new places, seeing new things, and interacting with people you’ve never met could be the tonic that gets you out of that unending funk.
1. You can get away from things that trigger depression
Depression could be agrravated by the people around you. Getting away from them for a while will help you sort out your relationships and help you decide whether you want them in your life or not.
Travelling exposes you to new people and ways of doing things that can bring some excitement back into your life. It may even give you ideas about how to revamp your life or help you appreciate it more.
2. You will get a fresh perspective on life
Seeing other parts of the world may help you realize there are so many opportunities out there, and your little corner of the world is not all there is to life. When you are always focused on your problems, they seem big. When you travel and are exposed to other people’s problems, you may feel like your life is much better than you thought it was.
It could also work the other way. Traveling may show you what’s wrong with your life and expose the reasons why you are depressed, forcing you to make a change. Many expatriates have found new jobs and more satisfying ways of life from traveling.
3. You could meet new people
Friendships made on the road can end up being some of the best you will ever have. Sometimes you just need to get away to new lands and meet new people. Sharing stories of your life with people from other countries or cities can open up lots of opportunities for you and expand thinking.
Sometimes people even find love while traveling. Others end up meeting people they lost contact with a long time ago. There is also something to be said for making friends with people from countries and cultures that are so different from yours.
4. You can experience nature’s healing properties
Most times, traveling exposes us to nature . Especially when you are feeling low, traveling to a nature spot out of the way can calm you. There are lots of places you can go to enjoy nature. For example, you can go hiking, take a fishing trip, visit a national park, go bird watching, or rock climbing, among other nature pursuits.
Spending time in nature and away from electronic gadgets, constant bad news and nagging workmates can be a tonic. Instead, you get to spend time enjoying things people rarely appreciate, like a star-filled sky or the view from the top of a hill. Even watching animals and birds in their natural habitat can be relaxing. Enjoying mountaintop views can be exhilating. It really is true that this kind of travel helps fight depression.
5. You will have some freedom
Best of all, traveling is fun. You get to let your hair down, meet new people, and live life on your own schedule. Just the beauty of breaking the monotony of everyday life can raise your spirits. Often, routines can be daunting and draining. Going away for a few days is a great way to beat feelings of stagnation.
Things to consider when planning a trip
So Start Planning a Trip…
If, after reading this you feel traveling can help you get out of a funk, then why not start planning a trip? If you choose to, here are some things you should consider.
What is your budget?
One reason that most people never consider traveling even when they desire to is that they think it will be expensive. The truth is you can travel to almost any destination on a budget.
Whether you have a little money to spare or a lot, it’s the way you spend it that counts. So if you want to travel, sit down first and decide what you can spend on your trip and then you can figure out where to go from there.
Where would you like to go?
Would you like to go on a road trip visiting different cities in your country or a neighboring one? Or would you much rather get on a plane and fly to your dream safari destination? Deciding where you want to go will help you prepare adequately for the trip. For example, if you are going to fly to a foreign country, you may need a visa, some vaccinations, and bookings in a hotel of your choice, among other things.
On the other hand, if you choose to go on a road trip, preparing things in advance to make it fun and comfortable is advisable. For example, you could put together a road trip CD with your favorite songs, and research where to find rest stops and hotels along the way.
You could also spruce up your car for traveling by putting up protective window film to prevent sun damage, checking if the tires are in excellent condition, and having a look under the hood to make sure you don’t stall somewhere on the road. Whatever you do, thorough preparation before a trip is important.
Who is coming along?
Which brings us to the question of travel companions. Sometimes, when you are feeling depressed, you only want to be on your own, and that’s fine. On the other hand, you may feel the company of a few friends will make the trip much more fun. It helps to decide on your travel companions early so that you plan for the trip with them in mind.
Once you have these three things sorted out, you will find that everything else falls into place. You could also look at this guide for more tips on how to prepare adequately for a trip.
You’ll find that travel helps fight depression. Many people swear by it. If you are feeling low, try it, and hopefully, you will come back well-rested, happy, and rejuvenated.