Has your health been affected by not being able to travel? I didn’t think mine had, but now I’m not so sure.

I personally should have been going to Las Vegas and Portugal since lockdown began and although I was naturally disappointed when I first found out, I was able to shake off the feeling quite quickly and move to a place of gratitude because everyone I love was healthy.

However, as we have moved from March through to August, it’s become increasingly difficult to remain cooped up inside and I have longed for the holidays more and more.

Image Credit - Caroline Dowse
Image Credit – Caroline Dowse
I’ve enjoyed my walks in nature on a whole new level than before, but it’s still not the same as the completely ‘free’ feeling of being on holiday.

Going on holiday or travelling is a way for most people to escape the daily grind of the hamster wheel of life and get away from their day to day stresses.

So the fact that we can’t do it, NOW, during this time of huge uncertainty (and for some people even fear), surely must have a huge impact on our society’s mental health?

I have always been a lover of travel.

One of the reasons my business was established is because the founder passionately believed that it was essential for families to have the life experiences associated with being able to travel.

He wanted to create an opportunity where people could work from anywhere in the world, flexibly, and it’s one of the main reasons I do what I do. Never in a million years would I have expected that such a huge proportion of our planet to be on lockdown and travel to come to an almost complete standstill! 

Yes, I can do what I do from home, and I know that I am in a very fortunate position to do that, but it’s not quite as much fun is it?

Nor is it as simple or productive with a child hanging off each ankle and a husband trying to work from home too!

I’m now longing for a beach abroad to work from (or chill on, either is fine as long as I can go somewhere…anywhere!)

So it’s got me thinking that all of these factors must surely be adding to the stress that households are facing.

Trying to balance work, childcare, household chores, the daily exercise, the home-schooling, all whilst keeping sane is becoming increasingly difficult! ‘Take me away,’ I hear you cry! 

The problems that seem so huge when at home can seem nowhere near as daunting when you’re lying around the poolside, skiing, climbing a mountain, exploring the world, or whatever your preferred type of getaway may be.

I’m even fondly reminiscing about a three-day break to Blackpool we had recently where we must have stayed in the worst B&B in the whole area!

But that didn’t matter because in our minds we were away, it was a time to relax, switch off and have fun, so that was what we focused on.

Personally, one of the main factors I usually look for when selecting a holiday is the weather. I prefer a warmer climate.

The city I live in, Liverpool, has been bathed in glorious sunshine for the past few months. As I sit writing this article it is raining for the first time in what feels like forever.

Can you imagine the impact on our mental health if the weather had been horrendous too? 

Serotonin, often referred to as our happy hormone is boosted by sun exposure.

But there are other ways to help if you are missing your holiday sunshine fix.

Light therapy, exercise and stress-reducing techniques like meditation are helpful in raising serotonin levels by lowering cortisol levels.

You can also help yourself by improving your gut health.

The majority of your serotonin is actually based in the gut. I would not be without my daily gut health supplement.

It’s not just the feel-good factor of the sunshine that makes holidays and travel important. I take more photographs on holiday than at any other times of the year!

It’s about the memories we create too. I bet when you think back, some of your fondest memories involve places you’ve visited and holidays you’ve been on.

My most vivid memories from childhood were from holidays, and also from looking back at the photos from the holidays, so it is a little bit sad to me that my children have missed out this year.

The memories travel provides are amazing of course, but some people may even suggest that travelling expands your mind.

The reasons being, you meet new people and adapt to new situations.

It also enables you to become more globally and culturally aware.

The reason this is good for your health is that new experiences increase cognitive flexibility, keeping your mind sharp.

Studies have shown a connection between travel and an increase in creativity, a deeper sense of cultural awareness and personal growth, some claim that those who travel and study abroad tend to be more open and emotionally stable.

I have also read articles that state those who travel tend to have a longer life expectancy.

Reporting that all forms of travel, both local and global, enhance our lives and can actually increase our life expectancy.

Research shows that travel reduces stress, keeps your body healthy inside and out, and boosts brain health.

So the fact that our day to day travelling, trips out and visits to local parks have all been minimized may have affected us in more ways than we realise.

So what can we do when we are longing to travel and not able to?

I have focused on being more present at the moment, enjoying my life, enjoying my work and feeling grateful for what I do have.

I’ve actually thought that it’s a shame that most people work so hard all year to look forward to having a two-week holiday.

Surely society has got the work-life balance very wrong.

Photo by Candice Picard on Unsplash

Is it worth feeling stressed out and burnt out for forty-eight weeks of the year to enjoy a few weeks of travel or holiday?

To me, it’s absolutely not worth it.

We reward ourselves with a treat of a holiday for working so hard for the vast majority of the year. My new outlook is to enjoy every day as if I had the same positive vibes as I would on holiday.

I’ve made a decision to love every day as if I were on holiday.

So my promise to myself and my family is to enjoy every precious moment that we can; to travel more, to do more, to be more…

But even so, I CAN NOT wait to book my next holiday! 

Where will you go? 

If you’d like to see where my next holiday takes me, you can find me on Instagram @kathysaramccann.

I’d love to see your favourite places to travel and where your next holiday takes you, so tag me in your posts!

For those who can’t wait to get their next holiday booked there are two independent travel agents that come highly recommended by me.

I have personal experience with these ladies who are very knowledgeable, very fairly priced and provide great customer service and attention to detail.

So if you need a little help deciding where to go and finding the best deals, the two ladies I would recommend are Emily Benbow and Julie Hendrickson.

easytravelwithjulie.com

traveltailor.notjusttravel.com

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