Going on vacation is supposed to be one of the best things in the world.
Sooooo you might be surprised to find that your mental health often suffers when you are away on holiday. The pressure to be having the time of your life can make you wonder what’s wrong with you when each minute isn’t perfect or quite as you imagined.
Maybe you decided to go on vacation to try to run away from reality or a situation at home, but it doesn’t quite work like that. I love this quote from Alain de Botton who describes his trip to idyllic Barbados, “on my first morning on the island, I realised something at once obvious and surprising; that I had brought my body with me.”
This describes us thinking we’ll be able to escape our minds and all those negative thoughts – but sadly they are right there with us, even when we’re on a beautiful beach, cocktail in hand.
This tragic realisation can add to why you might be feeling even more depressed or anxious than usual. Escape your life plan #1 did not work.
In addition, the change of routine and new surroundings can leave you feeling anxious and out of place.
I’ve experienced this many times where I have felt my thoughts are running on overdrive (especially as you don’t have work or your regular routine to distract you from them). They have all the time and space in the world and no number of cocktails and club sandwiches will stop them.
Even if this doesn’t sound like you, vacations are always a good time for self reflection and personal discovery. This is because all of the other things in your busy life are stripped away and you finally have some time to think.
Having some distance and perspective makes it a great time to really hone into your thoughts and feelings and see if there are any ways which you can change or improve your life.
One thing that has helped me keep anxiety and depression at bay when I am on holiday is to continue journaling each day, as I do in my routine at home.
Here are some journal prompts for vacation that you can use when you feel anxious and depressed on holiday, to help you sort through your thoughts, be in the moment, and appreciate the vacation whilst you are there. If you complete these check out my other journal prompts for self love or journal prompts for depression.
Mental health Journal Prompts for vacation
What am I grateful for on this vacation?
What do I love about this culture?
What is your favourite food on this vacation?
What am I glad to get some time away from?
What things are making me anxious today?
What are the benefits this vacation will have on me?
What have I learned on this vacation?
Is this my ideal vacation, or am I doing it to please someone else?
How would I change my next vacation?
Why did I want to go on this vacation?
What do I miss about home life?
Who do I miss from back home?
Who am I thankful to have some time away from?
What things do I want to change in my life when I get home?
Do I feel I deserve this vacation? Why / why not?
Are there particular times in the day when I feel bad? (Sunbathing / in restaurant / doing activities )
What things do I want to do on holiday before I go home?
Am I feeling more depressed than usual?
Am I feeling more anxious than usual?
What negative thoughts are distressing me?
Do I feel guilty about relaxing and not being productive? (Everyone deserves relaxation time – it makes you recharged and ready to go when the vacation is over!)
Is there anything I urgently need to sort out back home?
Am I worried about work? If so, what can i do to reduce this anxiety?
Am I eating healthily? (It might be tempting to go overboard on that breakfast buffet but pay attention to eat what makes you feel good.)
Am I exercising enough?
What activities are there that I can sign up for?
Does not knowing the language distress me? (If so, learning a few phrases helps!)
Are the people I am with annoying me?
Do I need to make some alone time?
Am I worried about spending? (If so, make a rough budget).
Is there anything that I can plan on the vacation that would help reduce my anxiety? (day trips, taxis etc.)
I hope you enjoyed these journal prompts for vacation! Enjoy the break and treat yourself to some relaxation – you deserve it.