Travel can be a challenge for women recovering from mental health and substance abuse issues, but it is also a wonderful opportunity for growth. Traveling offers us the needed distance from our lives to gain a better perspective. This allows us to view our issues and routines in a different light. It also encourages us to engage in different activities – culinary, adventurous, artistic and so on – that stimulate us to grow as people.
The type of travel we choose to engage in makes a difference. Different people enjoy different types of vacations. The vast majority of my travels have revolved around artistic pursuits in the major metropolitan centers of Europe. I have enjoyed history and architecture in Rome, Venice, Florence, Prague, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Heidelberg, Paris, London, Athens and more. I think these visits, no matter how short, have defined me as a person more than the years I’ve spent at home. Vacations spent exploring culture allow us to similarly explore ourselves.
Other vacations lazing in the French countryside or at the beach gave me time to reflect and refocus the priorities in my life. And yet others spent hiking, skiing or exploring allow us to experience the play-behavior that has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression.
Here are a few types of vacation to choose from if you need a mental health time-out:
Self-Time: Many women spend their days caring for others and forget to spend time on themselves. Others throw themselves into a busy career life, and their ambition and hard work leaves little important downtime. If you spend much of your life doing for others, a resort that caters to you and offers the very best dining and spa experience is for you. Such a place offers a space to relax and spend self-time focusing solely on yourself.
Altruistic: A service trip allows us to express our nurturing side and improve the world for others. Try searching volunteer vacations on the internet and find a trip that focuses on assisting wildlife or improving the lives of others. Such trips can take you anyplace in the world, from South America to Africa to Asia, and enable you to experience each country in an entirely unique way.
Culturally Stimulating: A travel destination filled with plays, history, art, architecture and museums in a traditional cultural destination such as London or Paris nurtures the intellectual side in all of us. Such a vacation gives the intellectually stimulated plenty to think about and discuss.
Outdoors: Destinations full of exciting outdoorsy activities can appeal to those who enjoy a thrill. Australia and California especially have many exciting outdoor and water activities. Popular skiing and hiking towns also make great destinations.
If you haven’t taken time for you in a while, perhaps it’s time to play catch-up. What type of vacation appeals to you the most?