Your beach vacation can boost your mental health. Experts share 3 ways to make the most of it.

If you’re looking for the ultimate relaxation, spending your summer at the beach is hard to beat. The combination of sinking your toes into the warm sand and basking in the sun after a refreshing swim in the ocean can do wonders for your mind and mood. And according to experts, there are ways to further enhance the mental health benefits of your beach getaway.

Counselor and certified life coach Rosa Talavera-Kaufman suggests that a beach vacation is the perfect opportunity to focus on your own mental health and well-being. It’s a chance to carve out some time for yourself and create space for self-care.

To make the most of your beach trip, experts recommend trying something new and different. Whether it’s exploring a new water sport, learning how to surf, or discovering a hidden beach spot, stepping out of your comfort zone can provide a fresh and exciting experience.

By embracing novelty and seeking new adventures, you can enhance the feel-good vibes of your beach vacation and make lasting memories. So, next time you head to the shore, consider trying something totally new to you for an even more fulfilling and enriching experience.
While it’s enjoyable to relax with a beach read, it’s also important to engage in new experiences that can stimulate both your body and mind in the long run. This can be as simple as trying paddleboarding for the first time or taking it up a notch by including a bucket-list activity in your itinerary, such as swimming in a bioluminescent bay surrounded by microorganisms that emit a stunning neon blue light.

Seattle lawyer Julia Guarino describes her experience trying the latter at Excellence Oyster Bay, an oceanfront resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica, as both thrilling and primal. “Lowering yourself into dark, murky water can be intimidating,” she says. “But witnessing the magical blue glow spreading from your hands as you swim is an unparalleled experience.” Many beachgoers feel a sense of wonder when swimming in bioluminescence, creating a unique and unforgettable memory.
Research has indicated that experiencing a sense of awe can have positive effects on both mental and physical health. Psychologist Reena Patel concurs, stating that immersing oneself in a new environment and participating in enjoyable activities can uplift mood, foster creativity, and inspire fresh ideas. Patel suggests that a beach vacation provides the perfect opportunity to try something new.

One way to take advantage of the beach environment is by taking a leisurely walk on the sand. According to Patel, this simple act can have a calming effect and help alleviate anxiety. She explains that walking barefoot on the sand is an ideal time to practice grounding techniques.
According to behavioral health clinician Mark Debus, maximizing a beach vacation can involve using mini-grounding techniques. These techniques can include taking walks along the beach and focusing on the sensations of the sand and waves on your feet and ankles. Debus explains that people often unconsciously carry anxiety and tension from their home or work environments with them on vacation. By practicing grounding strategies during beach walks, individuals can enhance mindfulness and potentially experience a reduction in heart rate and blood pressure.

Debus recommends focusing on the physical environment surrounding you during your beach vacation. Staying grounded and detaching yourself from thoughts unrelated to relaxation can help you make the most of your time away.
Life coach Talavera-Kaufman recommends taking a walk on the beach under a full moon to enhance intuition and grounding. Moon cycles have an impact on behavior, and being on the beach under a full moon can stimulate intuition when combined with meditation and grounding practices.

While it may sound mystical, both beachgoers and scientific studies confirm that being near the water promotes peace, calmness, and mental clarity. It provides an excellent opportunity for self-reflection, intentional thinking, and meditation, according to Talavera-Kaufman.

Resist the temptation to turn your vacation into a working period.
In today’s era of digital nomadism, the concept of working while on vacation, also known as a “workation,” has become popular. However, according to Debus, this practice can actually hinder the physical and mental benefits of a beach trip. Instead, he suggests that travelers should prioritize their relaxation by scheduling dedicated time for the beach.

Aye Moah, a workplace mental health expert and CEO of the productivity brand Boomerang, understands the struggle of being unable to disconnect from work even while on the beach. She explains that the stress of work can make it difficult to fully relax and enjoy your vacation. To combat this, Moah recommends taking some simple preparatory steps before your holiday to alleviate work-related anxiety and ensure that you can truly disconnect once you reach your destination.
“Before you leave, it is important to establish clear boundaries with your manager and team regarding your availability,” advises Yahoo Life. “Inform your team about what they can expect and make it explicit that you will be completely offline to avoid any confusion.” Additionally, review upcoming deadlines and submit any work that can be completed in advance. Lastly, create a memo outlining who colleagues should contact for different types of questions or issues. This way, if anyone within or outside the company has inquiries during your absence, they can be addressed and you won’t return to a mountain of tasks. This will allow you to fully relax, knowing that nothing will slip through the cracks while you’re away.”
When you finally reach your long-awaited vacation, the most challenging and impactful action to take is to disconnect your work email from your phones, according to Moah. Additionally, it is advisable to disable notifications for Slack or Teams, or even uninstall these apps completely until you come back. Moah suggests that the ultimate goal should be to fully unplug, as this will result in reduced stress and increased creativity upon your return.