Your First Vacation After Mental Health Rehab

A schedule, routine, and consistency are all incredibly important after mental health rehab. It’s natural, however, to anticipate time away from the daily grind. What does that first vacation after mental health rehab look like? Can you go international? Should you stay close to home? Is one night away enough time to recharge? Find out what to consider and how to behave away from the norm.

Benefits of a Vacation After Mental Health Rehab

Even if you just completed a mental health retreat and it took you away from your job and responsibilities, that wasn’t a vacation – it was healthcare for your well-being. Whatever your reason for pursuing inpatient care – depression, anxiety, grief, PTSD, or otherwise – this first vacation after treatment can keep the momentum going and help you feel good about your life.

Vacations are, in fact, great for mental health. They are known to reduce depressive symptoms, perceived stress, and anxiety levels. Consider the following:

  • Experience a stress reliever: The bills, laundry, dishes, cooking, caretaking – it’s a never-ending cycle of sameness. A vacation, even a small one, can be an incredible stress reliever and release from managing daily life after mental health rehab.
  • Gain a new perspective: Living Groundhog Day every day can put you in a rut but seeing a new place and new people and getting sun and fun can help you change your perspective about life and enjoy yourself while it’s happening.
  • Enjoy distraction: It’s necessary to face your feelings in mental health therapy, but it doesn’t hurt to focus on other things for a while on vacation, specifically the things that aren’t plaguing you, like grief or negative emotions.
  • Absorb feel-good feelings: The mere anticipation of going on vacation can deliver a serious emotional boost before your trip even arrives.
  • Challenge yourself to try new things: Travel is about going to an unfamiliar place and exposing yourself to new foods, people, places, and things, actions that all contribute positively to inner strength.

Prep Your Mind for Vacation After Mental Health Rehab

Travel after mental health rehab is less about where you go and more about how you plan for the trip, whether you travel with someone or alone, and what you do to prepare for travel and the aftermath.

Determine whether you’re taking a trip solo, with your significant other, or with your entire family. There is no right or wrong answer. You can strengthen relationships or latch onto the opportunity to recharge solo.

Here are some of the best ways to prep:

  • Provide comfort for yourself: Bring a few goodies from home that provide comfort, from a stuffed animal to your favorite snacks.
  • Talk to your therapist: Visit your mental health provider before you go and consider scheduling a check-in should you need their support while you’re away.
  • Manage medication: Some airlines and countries have limits on the amount and type of medication permitted, which can be problematic for mental health patients who are often prescribed controlled substances. Research what’s permitted, refill your prescriptions, and make sure you won’t run out of meds while you’re away.
  • Put loved ones on standby: Whether you’re traveling alone or with a partner or friend, have loved ones ready to take your calls or texts and ground you when you need it.
  • Create a travel toolkit: Pack a journal, stress toys, and carefully curated playlists that calm you or pump you up.
  • Plan downtime: Aim for a restful vacation that includes room to relax, not just a super-busy getaway that’s scheduled down to every minute.

After Your Vacation

It’s critical to prioritize mental health and not look to a vacation alone to make you better or keep you feeling better. While studies have shown that taking a vacation can improve a person’s quality of life and well-being, these perks may not last once you return to your regular routine.

Post-vacation depression is a real condition that can lead to irritability, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, and a feeling of general discomfort. Worrying about these potential side effects is no reason to avoid a vacation, but awareness of what could develop can help keep the unwanted feelings at bay.

Plan to readjust in the real world – include a regular sleep schedule, diet, exercise, relaxation techniques, leisure activities, and even hired help with laundry and grocery shopping – to ease the transition. One of the biggest things to bring people down and make it harder for them to manage real life even after mental health treatment are the usual responsibilities.

If you are feeling low, sad, anxious, or emotional discomfort or distress, get the mental health care you need from the holistic rehab and customized mental health services at Beachside Rehab in Fort Pierce, Florida. Our facility offers inpatient and outpatient rehab for mental health and substance abuse, detox, and holistic recovery. Call today at 866-349-1770 to speak with a trained admissions counselor.


Photo by Datingscout on Unsplash