I love to travel. Everyone has their major passion and travelling is mine, the anticipation of going on holiday is as good as the break itself. With our busy lives and family commitments (and the expense!) travelling and holiday time can be put on to the back burner. Not to mention a global pandemic which has meant that most of us have been unable to travel as we would like for over a year. However, there are scientific studies which have shown the importance of taking holidays, so do not delay read below and get one booked once the storm of the pandemic has calmed down.
It reduces stress and increases overall wellbeing.
So, you are probably thinking this is obvious, of course holidays reduce your stress levels because you are not at work! However, would you be surprised if I told you that a holiday can lower your stress levels and increase your wellbeing for up to 5 weeks after the actual holiday?
A study carried out in Austria looked at 53 employees of a manufacturing company and measured the stress & wellbeing levels 10 days before and 3 days after a holiday. At three days after the holiday, sleep quality and mood had increased than before the holiday. A follow up on these participants five weeks later showed that the participants still showed fewer physical complaints in terms of sleep quality and overall stress levels. This study therefore indicates that holidays promote and increase our well-being on a short-term basis.
It can affect your personality
One of the most famous personality models is the Goldberg ‘Big Five’ model consisting of openness, agreeableness, extroversion, neuroticism and conscientiousness. This is something that I teach, and I am very aware that I am high conscientiousness which means I like lists, order and do not cope well with spontaneity. I have always wanted to be more flexible and casual about things, and change my personality a little in this way, perhaps you have done the same.
A study carried out by Dr Julia Zimmermann and Franz Neyer set out to prove that travel can actually affect our personality types. They created two groups of German students and had one group stay in Germany for the semester while the other group were sent abroad for this time. Prior to the semester starting each participant was asked to complete a Big Five personality test, and once they were returned, they had to take the test again and the two results were compared.
The results were fascinating! They found that the group that had studied abroad scored higher in extroversion (they were found to have higher engagement in social interactions), openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. Zimmermann and Neyer found that as these students had to engage with strangers as they travelled this encouraged their levels of openness to increase.
Travel makes us look at situations from a different point of view and forces us out of our comfort zone which stretches aspects of our personality, to in my view, make us much more effective at dealing with situations and people.
Improves your mental health
Taking holidays has been shown in studies to improve levels of mental health, particularly for women. The Wisconsin’s Rural Women’s Health Study looked at a range of 1500 women who took varying amounts of holidays over a range of years. They found that women who only took holidays once every six years and once in two years had higher levels of depression than those that took holidays once or twice a year.
Those women who regularly took holidays were less stressed, depressed or tired than those who did not. Whenever you need an excuse to book a holiday just show your partner, family or friend this study and that is justification enough!
It strengthens relationships
If the above wasn’t justification enough, then the same study was Wisconsin found that women who had more holidays were also more satisfied in their marriage. Travel creates personal psychological benefits which improved their satisfaction in their home lives and also drove greater performance at work.
Travel is therefore good for our emotional intelligence and improves our resilience. You have permission to use this blog anytime someone questions why you need another trip 😉