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routine busting blog

It’s time to revitalize your mind

Liz Lee
by Liz Lee

May 26, 2022

3 minute read

 

At some point, about a year into the pandemic, I remember getting up from my makeshift desk at the dining room table and feeling, all at once, like my world had become incredibly small. My commute to work was a short walk down the hall, the highlight of my social life was the occasional Saturday night Zoom cocktail party that I attended from my couch, and the fabric of my closest friendships was mostly contained in a single group text thread. Basically, I felt stuck. My brain was seriously feeling the effects of missing out on all of those novel experiences that make life interesting—seeing new places, meeting new people, and learning new things.

It doesn’t take a global pandemic to get stuck in a routine, but it certainly doesn’t help either. Luckily, now that Covid restrictions are finally loosening, you can once again partake in one of the most effective ways to access your mind’s reset button—traveling!

Here are just a few reasons why traveling right now is good not just for you, but for the rest of the world too.

1.     It gives your brain a break. Perhaps you developed some not-so-healthy habits during the pandemic—think more screen time and less work-life balance? Well, traveling can help you break out of negative routines and set you on a healthier path. In fact, one 2013 survey linked travel to enhanced empathy, attention, energy, and focus. Who isn’t in need of that right about now?

 

2.     It elevates your mood. Yup, traveling brings us joy. And even if you’re not ready to board a plane quite yet, scientific research indicates that even the simple act of planning a trip can be great for our mental health. In 2014, a Cornell University study showed that even the anticipation of an experience (like a vacation) can substantially increase a person’s well-being and happiness.

 

3.     It improves cognitive flexibility. Think of traveling as a workout for your brain. Every time you have to navigate through a new neighborhood, adapt to cultural customs, or speak a different language, your brain benefits by becoming a little bit more agile. The fancy word for this is “neuroplasticity” if you’re wondering, and it has advantages that’ll persist long after you’ve returned home.

 

4.     It fights poverty. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), travel and tourism supported the livelihoods of 330 million people in 2019. Your trip can help bolster a job sector that was hit hard by the pandemic—and help to lift communities out of poverty at the same time.

 

5.     It helps conserve wildlife and natural habitats. This might seem counterintuitive, but according to the WTTC, the money you spend by traveling responsibly can help protect wildlife and heritage by supporting conservation and habitat protection efforts. (You can read about a some of the ways Collette does this here.)

The takeaway? It’s time to start planning your next trip. Think of it as an act of self-care. You may even be surprised at how easy it is to make your small world feel big again.

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