How Traveling Boosted my Mental Health
Updated: Apr 22, 2020
Since I started traveling, my perspective has shifted and I have managed to vacate my comfort zone. As my passport continues to fill, so does my heart, from all the memories and experiences I now have.
I remember like it was yesterday: I was sitting at my home workstation, on my laptop, entering in notes, feeling miserable. I was so overwhelmed by the amount of paperwork I had to do, coupled with all the client drama I had swirling in my mind. I was burnt out and so ready for a change. I remember just dreaming about taking a trip somewhere; it would be on a beach or in the mountains. I used to think: “if only I could just get away for a little while and escape, I’d come back so refreshed and so much better. I’d come back revived.”
That was me 2 years ago, working in mental health and social work. I was great at my job, always stayed on top of things. I just quickly got sucked into the vacuum that is burnout and had to step away for the sake of my own mental health. Imagine that: me working in mental health but concerned about my own mental health. Pretty ironic but not far-fetched...it was imperative that I took care of myself. I didn’t want to be a disservice to others if my heart wasn’t fully invested in my work. I didn’t want to go through the motions of any job; I wanted to be happy and genuinely love what I did for a living.
So I made a decision to walk away and take control of my own happiness.
A friend of mine was a flight attendant at the time and told me all about her adventures and how she'd seen a quarter of the globe already. I listened intently as she described the coveted freedom her job allowed her: she was able to set her schedule and organize her days off according to availability per month. She always wore a genuine smile and you could hear the excitement in her voice when she talked about her career in the sky. She encouraged me to apply for jobs as a flight attendant and without a second thought, I did just that. I figured what did I have to lose, besides my weekly headaches and nightly complaints. I put in multiple applications to different airlines and waited to see what would happen. I could hardly believe it when I started to hear back within a few weeks time. I thought could it be? Could my life really change for the better in an instant?
That was back in the fall of 2018. Fast forward a whole year and half later, and I’m really living my very best life. I am the happiest I’ve been in a long time. 2019 was one of the best years of my life for many reasons, but mainly because I made a goal of seeing 10 different countries at the beginning of that year and I actually did it. This year I’ve already been to 3 amazing destinations, even in the midst of a global pandemic. I’m so thrilled that I’ve been able to find the career that makes me light up when I talk about it. It's allowed me the time and flexibility to work on the things I'm most passionate about, writing and poetry. My energy is balanced, my skin is clear, my relationships are stronger; all because I took a leap. I took a leap of faith to better myself in all aspects of my life. I saw how much my mental health was suffering and I really had to pull myself up by the bootstraps to make some changes.
Traveling has undoubtedly been a huge help in shifting my perspective. The world is so big and we often get caught up in our comfort zones, not realizing just how much more there is to see out there. I’m so free and open to experiencing things I would have never dreamed of experiencing (like snorkeling with sharks). Nothing is perfect, but I promise you that things are a whole lot better when you jump into what it is your heart desires.
Write that book, call that person you like, take that trip! Do it right now, don't waste another day procrastinating. Life is too precious to not seize every waking moment you’re blessed with. Take it from me, it all starts with wanting better for yourself. Others can want better for you, but it starts with you.
"The world is so big and we often get caught up in our comfort zones, not realizing just how much more there is to out there."
Start thinking about what you can do to improve your mental health. I know now is a time when we are all in a period of isolation, as we transition into a new world of social distancing. This is a time to focus on you and your goals; you need to have tunnel vision about what you want to achieve. If you're not okay mentally, then it's nearly impossible to be of service to others. Your light is within you, all you have to do is take care of yourself and you will glow from the inside out. Glow baby glow!