As a young adult struggling to thrive in the workforce, you probably already know about workplace burnout. Recently, the phenomenon has created more noise in social media when news circulated that the World Health Organization (WHO) now classifies burnout as a medical condition.
To clarify this, the specialised agency immediately released a statement that burnout is not a medical condition; rather, it is an “occupational phenomenon.” In their handbook entitled the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11), WHO describes burnout as a “syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”
Also according to the ICD-11, burnout has three symptoms:
- Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;
- Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job;
- Reduced professional efficacy.
As of today, WHO is still developing further evidence-based studies about workplace burnout. For now, at least they assure us that it is very real. Lucky for us, some medical practitioners have found a way to, at least, minimise the cases. And, you’ll be happy to know our favourite prevention: Travel.
The following are only some of the ways that travel prevents burnout. Take note that these bank on medical opinions and scientific facts. So, the next time you experience burnout, consider showing this article to your boss.
Disclaimer: I am no medical practitioner. My basis for the next claims is solely out of research. I hyperlinked my sources throughout the article so that you can verify the claims for yourself. If you think you are experiencing a bad case of workplace burnout, or if you have any other mental health concern for that matter, it is always better to consult with a health professional.
1. Travel reduces stress
One of the common and major consequences of burnout is work-related stress. This is usually triggered by the pressuring demands of a job. To prevent this, travelling is actually an option. According to a 2013 study by the American Psychological Association (APA), travel reduces stress and other negative emotions. How? It removes us from our stressful environments and plants us in a safe place where we can reset and detoxify our mind. In fact, travel has been seen to be so beneficial as a stress aid that some medical practitioners are looking to prescribe travel to help cure physical and mental illnesses.
2. Travel boosts happiness
Burnout certainly takes a toll on our mental health. Amazingly, travel has also been seen to be beneficial for our mind. In a 2005 study, the Marshfield Clinic observed that women who travelled biennially were more prone to suffer from depression and tension.
“Women who take vacations frequently are less likely to become tense, depressed, or tired, and are more satisfied with their marriage. These personal psychological benefits that lead to increased quality of life may also lead to improved work performance,” the journal concluded.
Another more recent study found that people who spent their money on experiential purchases (such as travel) were generally happier than those who splurged on material goods.
3. Travel improves relationships
Sometimes, burnout from work intensifies because of bad workmates. In fact, APA reveals that one of the biggest stressors in work is a “lack of social support.” Maybe, you’re suffering from alienation from your workmates — this might be solved by group travel! Or, maybe you just need to fix your ties with your loved ones so that they can be able to understand and support your career. Have your love tank filled so that you’re ready to work again! Take that well-deserved break and bring your friends and family with you on a trip.
4. Travel stimulates creativity
Every job needs minds that can generate fresh ideas, but a healthy imagination is especially important for the creative industry. In travel, our brain is exposed to a new environment. This triggers our brains to “form new neural pathways” that boosts creativity.
Calling all burnt-out writers, photographers, videographers, designers, and other creatives. Turn off your laptops! Get inspired! See the real world!
5. Travel promotes decision-making
One of the possible causes of burnout is the lack of control over a job. In fact, a 2016 study conducted by Erik Gonzalez‐Mulé, an assistant professor of organizational behaviour and human resources at the Kelley School, showed that people who had little control over their workflow generally die younger than those who have work flexibility. To avoid creating a toxic environment, employees have to regain their voice in the workplace.
Travel prevents burnout in the sense that travel, especially solo travel, is popular for promoting a sense of independence. You learn to look after yourself, to decide on your own, and to trust your instincts. You can create your own itinerary and prioritise what feels good to you.
According to several sources, travel entails many health benefits. Have you experienced them? Let us know!