Millennials (defined as those born between the 1980s and the early 2000s) are some of the most stressed people alive. In fact, nowadays, they are named as the most stressed age group alongside the elderly, spending more than 20% of their life stressed on average. It’s easy to point to real issues such as stagnating wages, increased cost of living, and job prospects after university as some causes. They are all valid. But I’m going to take a look at how travel can be the cure for modern stress.
The internet has been a very popular bogeyman for baby boomers to point to whenever they’re unhappy that younger people spend time looking at their phones. However, overuse of social media has been widely agreed to be of serious detriment to your emotional health. For one, it provides instant feedback, which leads to many users seeking immediacy in communication and validation that leaves them impatient and on edge. Secondly, when we use it too much, we carry it with us everywhere. You can walk away from an argument in real life and give yourself space to process it. With social media, you’re carrying that argument to the dinner table, to the commute, to the bedroom. It’s not healthy. Taking a detox from social media by travelling might immediately operate at a lower stress level.
Cramped cities and smaller living quarters can be another serious contributor to stress. If we live and work in a city, it can feel difficult to try and leave your problems behind. Take a trip, even a short one, and find things to do in the countryside. Being surrounded by nature has been shown time and time again to be beneficial and to help us leave our issues behind. You don’t have to go very far to feel the benefits of “escaping” your daily life.
Lack of reflection
Those trips allow us some reflection and distance from our problems. If we spend all time thinking about why things aren’t going well at work or whether we’re going to pay the bills, we’re stuck in an endless cycle of feeling seemingly immediate needs even if we can’t address them immediately. Meditate, keep a journal, talk it out to yourself. Travel can give you the free time without responsibility to get some distance from your problems. It can be a huge help in reframing and gaining perspective on the issues that might seem imminent and insurmountable. We’re more likely to not only find solutions but sometimes realise a problem isn’t as much of a problem as we might believe it to be.
Sleep disorders are becoming more common in millennials and they have a huge, physical impact on causing stress. When we sleep, we control our production of stress hormones. When we don’t, they’re free to run amok. One of the best ways to get a proper sleeping schedule back is to create a real bedtime routine. When you’re travelling, you’re less likely to resort to using electronics before bed, you get a real chance to unwind and relax before turning in.
As mentioned, there are other issues drastically beyond our reach that can feed into stress. But the travel will allow us to make positive changes to our lifestyle that could make us all the readier to face a challenging and changing world.