Most of us are aware of the link between mental and physical health, and it’s well documented that stress negatively affects the body and mind. Unless you are a mental wizard or enlightened guru (if that’s you, congratulations!) turning off that anxiety can feel like yet another demanding task. Forcing yourself to relax can seem like a contradiction, and many people do not have the time to let that stress fully dissolve on its own. A recent survey found that only 52 percent of Americans plan to take a summer vacation. For the other 48 percent, this leaves very little time to relax, causing a vicious cycle of built-up tension.
Vacationing can be a great way to remove the weight of the world, but de-stressing is not the only reward. Travel can often be a chance for us to learn and grow, whether it’s learning about a different culture, participating in adventure sports, or just taking some down time to reflect and relax. Breaking off from the daily grind of work provides some time to see things from a fresh perspective, even if we spend that time lying on the beach or sipping hot cocoa from a log cabin porch.
The benefits can be more than just personal, too. Family vacations can help create valuable shared experiences, forming lifelong memories that help to strengthen family bonding. Many of us can still recall building sandcastles with our siblings or fishing off the boardwalk under a coastal sun. For others it might be skiing in the mountains or visiting a national park. No matter how simple or extravagant, the memories we create in those moments become cherished memories for the rest of our lives. Unfortunately, not everyone had the chance to enjoy such experiences when they were young, but vacations offer a way to give our children and ourselves better lives.
Whether it’s checking something off your bucket list or just taking time to unwind and reconnect, forming travel memories is worthwhile. Still, for many people who are over-worked and financially challenged, vacationing can be difficult. Ironically, it is often those of us who cannot afford a vacation who need it most. Just know that you deserve that special time with yourself or with your family. If you think you can’t afford a vacation up front, consider if a vacation loan is right for you. Just be sure to avoid lenders and financial institutions with high interest rates and exorbitant fees. Even if you choose a cheap “stay-cation” over something more extravagant, don’t ever forget to take a break from the world in order to reconnect with yourself and others. It might even add a couple years to your lives.