How to spend a vacation with benefits for the brain

Studies show that vacation is not only enjoyable, but also beneficial to the body: regular travel reduces the risk of heart attacks and increases life expectancy. And while a bad trip can be a source of stress, a properly spent holiday can benefit the brain, make life more meaningful and provide pleasant memories.

Here are 12 tips to help you spend your vacation with maximum mental benefit

  1. Plan ahead

The most enjoyable thing is not the trip itself, but the anticipation and planning. On the other hand, some people feel stressed during the week before starting their holidays due to the additional workloads at work and at home.

To avoid this, start planning your trip well in advance. Try to find time for your vacation when you don’t have to worry about work or family matters, and plan your budget to avoid financial worries.

  1. Choose something new…

By visiting unfamiliar places and exploring new ones, we stimulate our brains in the same way as when we learn something unusual and complicated, like playing tennis.

“When we find ourselves in a new environment that challenges us, the brain responds by starting to change. New dendrites (neuronal processes) emerge and the brain literally becomes like a jungle,” explains Paul Nussbaum, a neuropsychologist at the University of Pittsburgh.

Visiting unfamiliar places can also make us more creative: subjects educated abroad performed 20% better on test assignments that required creativity.

  1. …But not too unfamiliar…

To increase brain productivity and improve concentration, you need to rest and relax, so a frightening or too tense vacation environment is not suitable. To develop creativity, it is best to travel to countries where culture is partly different from ours, but still has something to do with it.

How to spend a vacation with the benefit of the brain…

  1. Travel with friends

Of course, you can make friends with someone on the road, but still it is best to spend your vacation with your loved ones – communicating with them brings the most joy. Subsequently, you can remember together how you spent your vacation. Disputes and finding out the relationship prevents you from recovering energy and productivity, it is worth choosing a non-conflict fellow travelers.

  1. Practice relaxing in advance

If you start practising your brain for a short while beforehand, it will be easier for you to relax and not worry about anything during your holiday. Try turning off the phone in the evening, make an appointment for yoga classes, practice meditation – all this will help to “explain” the brain that it has the right to take breaks and rest, especially during vacation.

  1. Start with the most interesting…

Psychologist Elizabeth Dunn, who researches the perception of happiness, says that the overall experience of the trip depends on how you spend the first few days. Make sure you start your holiday memorable by choosing a luxury hotel or doing something particularly interesting.

  1. …and let it be something new

For example, take a zip-line ride or go to the interactive theatre. As Elizabeth Dunne explains, new, unusual activities bring us more joy than something familiar and ordinary.

  1. Do what you love to do

Regular leisure time (sports, socializing with friends, reading) helps to feel life more meaningful, improves mood, gives energy. A vacation is the right time for your favorite activities.

  1. Less use your smartphone and email

Trying to work remotely during a vacation will only create additional stress. Staying in touch all the time, you are unlikely to remember your vacation well – according to research, people who continued during the holidays to work an hour a day, then could hardly remember how the vacation was (it was given to them 43% harder than those who completely forgot about work).

  1. When you return home, take another day off from work

If possible, at the end of your trip, take a day off from work to deal with your accumulated household chores, clean your emails, and prepare to return to the normal pace of life. If this is not possible, try not to overload your first working days with extra responsibilities, meetings, meetings and presentations.

  1. Recall your vacation days more often

By telling us how our vacation went, we help the brain to remember the joyful feelings that we experienced then. Share your memories more often with people you know.

  1. It’s normal to be sad when you come back

Sadness after the trip is normal. The main thing is to remember that there are many useful journeys ahead.