August is commonly known to be the month of vacations for many. Needless to say, “vacations” means relax and well-being. What is the exact reason why going on vacation is good? An explanation comes from the so-called psychology of vacation, a real discipline which studies the relationship between vacations and well-being, from pre-vacation preparations to homecoming.
Have you ever happened to remember the time of preparations as being even better than the vacation time itself? The mere thought of doing whatever we like gives us a sense of well-being as it triggers the reward system in our brain (i.e. a set of neural structures that are responsible for positive emotions such as joy, euphoria and ecstasy).
Sometimes, however, vacations are associated to excessively ambitious expectations. If your daily routine during the year is highly distressing, you may start your vacation with the hope to come back filled with energy and totally regenerated. However, when you get back, you often happen to find it difficult to go back to your routine pace of life and feel a sense of sadness and the same distress as before the vacation, or even more. It is the so-called post-vacation blues: why does it occur?
Scientific research studies conducted on this subject matter confirm that if your life style is too distressing, the positive effects of your vacation fade away quickly as well-being is mainly generated during the vacation and does not last longer than one week after homecoming.
The main reason for this is attributable to the physiological responses our body works out to adapt to our distressing routine throughout the year. It is a set of complex dynamic mechanisms which become automatic over time and also activate even if we are not living a distressful experience. The best way to fully enjoy the pleasure of a vacation, irrespective of it being a few days or a few weeks, is to take care of your own body and your mental wellness all year round, making it a real standard of living.
It is easy and takes just a little care for yourself, like finding time to read a book, having an half-an-hour stroll, dining out with friends, spending time with your family, enjoying a regenerating floatation session or a beauty treatment. Choose what makes you feel good and do it on a regular basis.
This is a good way to make the best out of your next trip and helps the positive feelings connected with pleasant experiences you have lived while on vacation generate some significant beneficial effects on both the body and the mind. More specifically, going on vacation has proved to foster what is known as cognitive flexibility, in other words the ability to find new creative solutions to overcome the obstacles and challenges of daily routine.
The secret? Choosing the right vacation!
The “right vacation” is that which meets specific personal needs and fulfils psychological motivations. It should be in line with your finances and with the condition of fitness of your body and mind:
Whether you opt for a vacation at the seaside, in the mountains or adventure-oriented, make sure that during your vacation too you can find time for your well-being and to take care of yourself as you do throughout the year because you deem it important. Do not forget to put your good habits in your suitcase: meditation, fitness, healthy food, a chit chat with friends or time with your family. Rediscover good habits while on vacation and enjoy them away from the frantic pace of your daily routine!
What are you waiting for? Go and get your luggage ready to leave! Enjoy your vacation and …. welcome back, ready to focus on wellness all year round.