When it comes to a case of the blues, I’ve found travel to be very helpful in combating depression. As any good counselor will tell you, sometimes the best remedy for what ails you is to simply step away from it all. What better way is there to do just that than to take an extended trip far away? If you are on the fence, unsure as to whether or not a good, long trip would do you any good, here are three ways travel can combat depression.
Getting Away from the Source
Sometimes we are depressed for no logical reason whatsoever, but usually depression is caused by circumstances in our lives we feel powerless against. Perhaps the best remedy is to go where the source of your depression won’t be a constant reminder. Putting physical distance between yourself and someone who hurt you or a depressing situation — such as a stressful job or a breakup — can help. (If you are in school, seeking a degree in counseling, you could always transfer to an online counseling degree that would enable you to study on the road.)
In my twenties, I traveled solo to Jamaica after a bad breakup. That month away helped me find joy again, get my mind off the situation, and make new friends. I came home with new memories and plenty of funny stories to share with my friends.
Learning to Cope with the Unexpected
Sometimes we stay depressed because we haven’t learned coping skills. Traveling is a great way to improve those skills for a few very good reasons. First of all, you are bound to run into a situation that requires creative thinking. Being out on the road miles from family and friends, you are left to your own devices. While learning how to change a flat tire, you are relying on your own resources and that’s something that comes in handy when dealing with depression.
After all, your best friend isn’t around the corner to give you a lift to the shop so you find that you really can do things alone. If your depression is due to the loss of a loved one through death or divorce, you may find that you are capable and can handle what life throws your way even when at home it seemed impossible.
Time Away from Social Media
Finally, think about all the hours a day you spend on social media. Aren’t all those conversations you have a constant reminder of what’s troubling you? Friends near and far mean well but sometimes it’s the same conversations over and over again like salt in a wound. In fact, when you spend so many hours on social media you think of little else. Why not get out and away from the computer where you’ll have time to actually see and experience something new for a change? You’ll never know until you’ve tried.
Not only will traveling help to lift your depression, but you just might get a totally new lease on life! Maybe you’ll find somewhere interesting you’d like to live for a while, meet new friends or even get an introduction to a new job. There is so much to see and do while traveling that you certainly won’t have time to stay mired in your state of depression. And that is the best remedy of all.
You’ve heard the old saying “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and get going. You’ll soon see how tough you truly are.
Please note: This post is not recommending travel as a substitute for seeking professional help when it comes to chronic depression or mental health problems.