Mental Health Blog

Bon Voyage! Vacationing and Mental Health

Going on a vacation is a part of life that does not happen very often for many people, but has several benefits for one’s mental health. Whether you are a student, employed, or going through a difficult time, vacationing has the benefits of reducing burnout, stress, and depression, while also allowing for a necessary break from other important responsibilities in life.

Increased Productivity

During a long semester at school, or several months of consecutive work, stress levels can increase to an unhealthy amount. According to the TELUS Health Library, “when stress levels become too high, performance can decline as a result.” In order to mitigate the effects of high stress levels, a suitable recovery time is needed to achieve positive effects on stress, recovery, strain, and well-being (Workplace Safety and Prevention Services, 2023).

As a result of improved rest and sleep during vacation, many employees return to work feeling more focused and productive, which has benefits to both the employee and the employer (Bloom et al., 2021).

Reduced Burnout

Burnout is a feeling that can result in an individual to feel as if the world is “caving in”, and causes one to feel as if they are stuck in their roles and responsibilities. When taking a vacation, people are often reminded of all the unique experiences that exist outside of work, and can help widen an individual’s perspective. Since vacationing is linked to an increase in mood, it can also help increase job satisfaction. When passion is reignited for a job, it can make work seem like a less daunting task, and a way for one to achieve their goals (Paper, 2024).

Improved Mood

Due to the benefits of increased sleep, rest, and reduced burnout, many individuals experience a boost in happiness as a result of these feelings. Many individuals experience improved happiness levels even while planning a vacation, and this happiness has been shown to last up to 8 weeks before and after the vacation. Travelling can improve mental health by helping an individual feel calm. Seeing new places and touring new destinations helps release any built up tension or stress that results from work or school. 

Improved Sleep

Research has shown that sleeping in a vacation home improves sleep levels due to the change in environment, because it removes the reminders of daily stresses. This cognitive impact of increased sleep can help improve concentration, improve memory, and problem-solving abilities. Decluttering your mind through increased sleep allows creativity to expand and provides opportunities for innovative ideas to emerge.

Improved Physical Health

Elevated stress levels at work or school result in the release of stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine, mimicking the feeling of being in danger. The release of these hormones is responsible for suppressing the immune system, in order to escape a physical danger (that is nonexistent). While relaxing on a vacation, these hormones can be suppressed and the immune system can be allowed to recover. Being in chronic stress has been shown to cause increased flu, cancers, and heart diseases. A study of 749 women had found that those who did not take a vacation every six years were 8 times more likely to develop health problems, compared to those who frequently travelled. Being in nature during vacation causes heart rates and blood pressure to lower, while getting a massage can improve circulation, flexibility, immune response, and muscle and joint inflammation and stiffness (Zucker, 2023).

Stress is a natural component of life that everyone goes through, but sometimes entering a new environment can help put worries into perspective and contribute to an individual’s overall wellbeing. The next time you feel overwhelmed with stress, consider taking some time off and going on a road trip, or even a faraway country.


Paper, S. (2024, February 26). How a vacation can help improve your health. Allina Health.

Bloom, J., & Lehr, D. (2021, December 23). Well recovered and more creative? A longitudinal study on the relationship between vacation and creativity. Frontiers in psychology.

Workplace Safety and Prevention Services. (2023, July 5). How taking vacations can increase productivity and job satisfaction.

Zucker, R. (2023, July 19). How taking a vacation improves your well-being. How Taking a Vacation Improves your Well-Being.

Image credit: Wallpaper Cave

Note: The Free Your Mind Mental Health Society is an independent youth-led organization. The contents of this blog are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. In the event of a medical emergency, please call your doctor or 911 or other local emergency numbers immediately.