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Do you feel like you are caught spinning inside a hamster wheel? We can all get caught up in a fast-paced lifestyle filled with demands, obligations, and over-scheduling. Our lives can feel like down-time is nonexistent, and there is no escape from the ‘go-go-go’ we’ve gotten ourselves into.

Enter stress.

It affects us all.

Responsibilities at work. Managing personal finances. Coping with a challenging relationship. The list can go on. According to WebMD, “while some stress can be beneficial – too much stress can wear you down, both mentally and physically.”

While we may think there is no getting off the hamster wheel of life, and stress is just something we have to deal with, there are several long term harmful effects of stress on our lives.

Difficulty Relaxing + Insomnia  

You can say that you ‘live for the weekend’ but when your weekends flash by and the ‘Sunday Night Blues’ kick in, your mind can’t relax. You are already doing a mental high dive into your to-do list for the week, and it’s impossible to quiet the demands running a marathon inside your head. Checking email in bed, leaving yourself voicemail reminders at 2:00 in the morning, and even a harmless scroll through Instagram can compound stress. All of this stimulation can lead to restless nights and constant exhaustion.

Feeling Overwhelmed

Giving up on your own goals and ambitions because life is too full of other demands can leave you feeling overwhelmed and sorry for yourself. These feelings can cause you to lose control of the more positive parts of your life, since you are completely bogged down by the rest.

Easily Agitated

When stress is all-consuming, it’s easy to become moody and even snappy toward others. The task of getting your kids dressed and ready for school in the morning can feel like a battle from the time your alarm goes off to drop off.

Mental Health

Low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety can develop and get increasingly worse with a stressful lifestyle. You can feel like you aren’t good enough, and start to avoid hobbies and exercise. This negative energy not only affect you, but also your personal relationships with family, friends, and colleagues.

Sickness

From headaches, to not being able to kick the common cold, stress can bring on short-term and more long-term illnesses. High blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and stroke can be triggered from a stressful lifestyle.  

When stress overcomes your life, you are well overdue for some self-care to bring yourself back to living your best life. So what’s the best way to step off the spinning hamster wheel?

Enter travel.

Here is our list of five ways travel can help alleviate the harmful effects of stress.

1. Trip Planning

While some may think that travel planning is stressful, having a vacation imprinted on your calendar can reduce the stress from your every day. You have something new and exciting to look forward to!

2. All-Inclusive

If the thought of planning a vacation adds stress to your plate, book an all-inclusive experience. Go on a Caribbean cruise, a group tour through the Cajun country in Louisiana, or a yoga retreat in Bali. How relaxing does it sound to travel somewhere and not have to worry about planning a thing? Perfection.  

3. Solo Travel

If you really need to get away from it all, try traveling solo. Whether you trek the Dolomites in Italy, or spend your days napping on the beaches of Rio, quiet time alone can completely rejuvenate you.

4. Ancestry Travel

Plan a trip to focus on the most important part of your life: your family. Walk the paths your ancestors walked, and learn the history of your family’s past. This unique experience can bring you a sense of connection and understanding.

5. Make It A Habit

A year flies by way too quickly. So when you return from your next vacation, make sure you get something on your calendar for next year! Whether you like traveling to the same beach year after year, or you want to cross things off your bucket list, a vacation habit is certainly a happy habit to take on!  

Avoiding stress altogether isn’t possible, but what matters most is how you decide to handle it. Travel is one very important way to alleviate the stress that can consume you.

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