As work weeks get longer and breaks get shorter, many people are looking for any way to maximize their time off. This means getting the most of their vacation in an effort to try to boost their mental health. Studies have shown that in the US approximately 40 million adults suffer from some sort of mental health problem. For those suffering from anxiety or depression (or even both), sometimes the best remedy is some time off. Here is a list of the best places to unwind, relax, and find peace.

Papohaku Beach, Molokai

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When taking on the world seems impossible, it might be time to hop on a plane and head to Hawaii. While any of the Hawaiian beaches are a good choice for a retreat, for those really needing to decompress, Papohaku takes the crown. The sea itself is known to be quite rough, so it’s best to appreciate from a distance. But for those wishing to be serenaded by the lick of waves against the sand, this is the place to be. With three miles of basically deserted beach and no loud families, boardwalks, or garbage to sully the sight, this is the place to find your inner zen.

Dordogne, France

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Located in southwestern France, Dordogne emobides everything about French joie de vivre culture. If you’re looking for a little pick-me-up, the plentiful grottes, châteaus, and nature will be sure to bring a smile to even the sulkiest of faces. You can forget your problems with a visit to the Grotte de Lascaux, featuring 17,000 year old cave paintings or if you prefer more modern amenities, the 12th century Château de Beynac offers a fantastic view of the breath-taking region. If anything, the scenery, coffee, and food will bring tranquility to those looking to unwind.

Napa Valley, California

Aurimas /Flickr Creative Commons

Aurimas /Flickr Creative Commons

They say that wine is good for the heart, and warm cheeks and full bellies definitely don’t seem to counteract that, so head west to California to experience it. Napa Valley is America’s legacy to wine-making. The region is only an eighth the size of Bordeaux (France’s famous wine region) but its wineries produces some of the most respected and profitable wines today. Napa Valley’s climate is warm and dry with fertile soil, making it an ideal location for growing grapes. Here, visitors are able to walk through vineyards and let the sun kiss their faces. With wine tasting tours, cooking classes and relaxing hot springs resorts, those knots in your back are sure to undo themselves.

Kosi Bay, South Africa

Alison Harrington/Flickr Creative Commons

Alison Harrington/Flickr Creative Commons

Not really a bay, Kosi Bay is actually a series of four connected lakes in the southeastern South Africa, in the KwaZulu-Natal province, also known as the garden province. This area of the province is known to have clear water, large whale and dolphin populations, and a number of fish species, earning it the nickname ‘the aquarium.’ A bit challenging to get too, Kosi Bay has been left in its most pristine state, leaving a tranquil, untouched scenery. And if you’re looking for a reason to live, Kosi Bay is the nesting ground for thousands for leatherback and loggerback turtles. Come February, thousands of tiny turtle hatchlings make their way to the beach, and are definitely a sight to behold. No spirits can be left unlifted while watching baby turtles.

Savannah, Georgia

Sheila C/Flickr Creative Commons

Sheila C/Flickr Creative Commons

There is no better example of antebellum architecture, attitude and food than Savannah, Georgia. With a plethora of quaint bed&breakfasts and restaurants servings southern home-style cooking, there’s no better place to feel like you’re at home. Oak-lined streets offer shade to those looking to take afternoon strolls after sipping from their mint juleps. Coupled with friendly smiling faces, these activities are sure to quiet the bees in your head. Getting lost in Savannah’s cobblestone streets is a pleasure, and if your path leads you to the Bonaventure Cemetery, it’s a perfect moment to reflect and find inner peace. Romantic, homey, and charming, Savannah is the perfect place to resolve your past and help you move forward.

Santorini, Greece

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Found in Aegean Sea, about 200 km from the Greek mainland, Santorini redefines blue. It has been voted as one of the most beautiful islands in the world, and for good reason. The islands’ have incredible red, white and black beaches in their many beach towns. It is thanks to the volcano Thera, which exploded 3,600 years ago, that Santorini was created and now has been blessed with such unique ecological phenomena. If ever you need to feel small or understand your role in the world, Thera stands as a looming presence indicating the power of nature. It is also thanks to the volcanic soil that Santorini can grow grapes and produce some of the world’s best wines. For the gastronomically and geographically  inclined, Santorini is sure to assuage the bluest of blues.

The Blue Lagoon, Iceland

Roderick Eime/Flickr Creative Commons

Roderick Eime/Flickr Creative Commons

For those looking for total relaxation, this is the place to be. The geothermal spa is one of the most visited attractions in Iceland, and is only located about an hour from Iceland’s capital, Reykjavík. The spa offers a variety of packages for differing levels of comfort and relaxation. The waters are rich in minerals like sulfur and silica, and are said to contribute to healthy skin and overall well-being. The water’s intensely blue hue is likely due to the mineral content and adds to the ethereal appearance to the entire spa. For those looking for solo relaxation, it’s best to check out the spa early or late to avoid the crowd. Alien in appearance and other-worldly in feeling, the Blue Lagoon is definitely an out-of-body experience, sure to turn the most intense of frowns upside down.

Unwinding can mean a lot of different things for people. Are there any places you always go to to relax? Let us know where it is below!

About The Author

Chloe Nevitt

Lover of cheese. Trash panda enthusiast. Avid nap-taker and fridge-hunter. Occasionally writes and sometimes travels. Responds to "Chloe" and "Generous Overlord."

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