“Self-care” is a broad term that means completely different things to each individual, with practices that can be physical, emotional, or spiritual. What works for someone else might not suit your needs, and that’s okay — whether your self-care is doing yoga or getting a much-needed massage, as long as you’re putting yourself first and taking a step back from your everyday routine to focus on improving your overall well-being, then you can experience the blissful benefits. For me, traveling is what keeps me sane and in the present moment. It’s a no-brainer that a vacation (or staycation) can do wonders for your mental health when your mind, body, and soul are anxiously awaiting a break. Here are the biggest reasons why I think booking that trip can actually help you become your best self. (After all, if you don’t look out for yourself, who’s going to?)

A woman looks out over the city of Udaipur

1. Travel keeps me present. Just like meditation or exercise, travel is therapeutic and has helped me get through tough times more than any other human can. It’s very rare for me to be stressed or anxious when I’m embarking on a new exciting adventure. There’s no other choice than to be present while traveling, and the future is never a thought in my mind. Being so focused on a destination and enjoying the culture reminds me to stay in the moment and be grateful for having the chance to experience each once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

2. It improves self-awareness. Getting lost in a new city, especially while traveling solo, can really open up your mind to what you want in life and help you grow as a person. Whether it becomes a motivation to set new goals or just serves as validation that you’re happy with where you’re at, travel gives you time to set aside the technology and stress to focus on yourself.

3. It gives me a chance to embrace change. By packing my bags and going on a trip, everything automatically shifts. Different time zones and languages come into play, and my regular routines and relationships change the minute I step on the plane. Learning to embrace the unexpected changes and uncertainty that come along with travel has improved how I handle them in everyday life.

4. Traveling sparks inspiration and creativity. When I’m traveling, I’m happier and more energized. Meeting new people, seeing unfamiliar sites, tasting unique foods, and immersing myself in different cultures sparks a type of inspiration that is indescribable. Taking the initiative to let myself go and take in my surroundings leaves me with a fresh state of mind and new ideas.

5. It broadens my mind. Travel is a learning experience like no other. Over the years, it has broadened my mind and made me think in different, sometimes uncomfortable ways. One of the best takeaways I received from traveling the world is acceptance. Embrace any culture shock you come across and appreciate each culture’s differences, and you’ll find it can transform you.

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