Summer is one of the best times of year to plan a trip since there’s beautiful weather and no school, and it’s common for people to save up any paid time off and use it for an exciting vacation for a couple of weeks to enjoy the slow summer days. With the upcoming season of summer, this might mean that you have some family vacations lined up on the calendar. Studies have shown a positive correlation between taking vacations specifically with your family and mental health. It can feel difficult to justify taking an extended period of time off work, but time and time again, doing so has shown to actually improve efficiency and productivity in the workplace quite significantly. Especially if you have kids, family summer vacations have proven to have great benefits on their overall wellbeing and development. We are going to discuss the effects that family vacations can have on mental health that you might not have been aware of.
There has been research done on kids who have had the opportunity to travel and take summer vacations with their families from time to time. Not only do young ones benefit considerably from the unique time that is spent together on a family vacation, but the experiences that are obtained through this time have shown to be phenomenal for children’s development. You do not need to travel all over the country or world to provide your kids with the mental health advantages that family vacations generate. Changing up the everyday norm and allowing your kids to acquire first-hand knowledge through planning and going on any type of trip helps them gain confidence, a better ability to focus, and a boost in creativity. These impacts can stay with them for a long time that will assist in shaping them as they grow and continue to learn for years to come.
The word vacation practically implies relaxation, which we all know by now is the key to ultimate stress relief and improved mental health. Whether you’re a kid that gets to enjoy their time out of school and on a lovely summer vacation or an adult that has the chance to unplug from work and other responsibilities for the next week or more, everyone can benefit from the massive stress-relieving benefits that family vacations boast. It’s healthy to check out from life’s obligations once in a while and hit the reset button. This stress reduction is incredible for the immune system, your heart, and your overall sense of wellbeing and happiness. Feel-good hormones like serotonin and dopamine are great at contributing to reductions in stress, and they are produced at a higher rate when you’re doing something fun – such as taking a vacation. Family vacations are a great time for everyone to unwind and have some fun together while changing up the typical daily routine and pace of things.
Families who take vacations together can testify to the amazing bond that is created through these opportunities. The busy schedules that likely fill up most days throughout the year often can make it difficult for families to spend much quality time together. School, extracurricular activities, work, hobbies, and friends are all vital aspects of life, but unfortunately, these can take away from family time. Whether you make time for a relaxing staycation or an out-of-state trip to a new destination, putting aside the typical day-to-day responsibilities or commitments and being present with one another during this period is one of the best ways to bond and become closer as a unit. You can create new memories that will last a lifetime, learn things about one another that you weren’t aware of before, and try out exciting experiences with one another that you otherwise would not have had the chance to go for.
One seriously awesome result that comes from traveling is the expansion of understanding that is pretty much always promoted through this endeavor. Children especially can benefit from everything that comes with traveling, and even more so when it is to a novel place and with their family. We already discussed how family vacations, the planning process, and travel can have a positive lasting impact on kids, but we can dive even further into that and look at the extraordinary outcomes that immersing them into new places and cultures has. When you take a family vacation together to a new city or even country, children have the opportunity to see firsthand how expansive the world is and how different it can be from what they are used to. Watching movies or reading books about these topics is one thing, but actually seeing it for themselves takes it to a whole new level that cannot be matched. Trying out the diverse and authentic cuisine that other places have, seeing the remarkable sights that can only be discovered in the area, and interacting with the locals improve not only children’s social awareness and worldliness, but the whole families.
All of these benefits that come with family vacations can be obtained regardless of if you’re traveling in the summer or another season. It’s easy for life and all of the busy aspects that come with it to get in the way and to put family time and relaxation on the backburner. This is precisely why setting time aside to spend time together as a unit is so important and will pay off so much when it comes to everyone’s state of mental health. Quality family time does not need to be anything extravagant or over-the-top, and it can even be something as simple as having a weekend campout in the backyard or a quick trip to a neighboring city. Both you and your kids will look back so fondly on these times that were specifically set aside to bond with one another, and they will surely create memories that will last for years to come.
Dr. Messina & Associates specializes in anxiety and depression in children, adolescents, and adults and continue to provide psychological and psychiatric services in-person and online. Our highly qualified team of compassionate and dedicated providers is ready for your call.