Why Theme Parks Are Great For My Mental Health

As we fast approach the UK theme parks reopening this month with just one more week left to go (yay!) it's hard not to notice the overwhelming sense of joy and relief across social media. For many of us, the various lockdowns over the past year have been particularly hard. As theme park enthusiasts, we're used to being able to get up and travel across the country to whatever theme park takes our fancy, and when we're not doing that we're deep in trip planning mode, arranging our next adventure. That's largely something we've not been able to indulge in over these past twelve months, and us such it's understandably taken a toll, particularly mentally for many of us. 

It's definitely been a tough slog to say the least, but brighter times are on the horizon! The relief of being able to get stuck back into something that brings us so much joy is overwhelming, and the benefits for our mental health are endless. Entering the lockdown around this time last year made me realise just what a huge part theme parks and trip planning play in my overall mental wellbeing and to have that stripped away for so long has certainly had an impact on me the past year, and I'm not ashamed to say I've struggled with my mental health on more than a few occasions as I'm sure many of you have too. The pandemic has given me a new found appreciation for my hobby, and I wanted to take some time today to account for some of the ways theme parks are fantastic boosts for my mental health.

Some of my favourite rides are such because of the rush they give me. This is especially true for launch coasters and anything with a particularly wild or chaotic layout full of plenty of ejector airtime moments. It's all about leaving me with the feeling that my veins are going to explode with adrenaline which leaves me feeling ecstatic and alive. Did you know that adrenaline is actually directly linked with making you feel happy? After your body gives you that rush, there are other physical responses, one of which being the release of endorphins which make us feel happy. If there's a quick way to get a massive smile back on my face, it's riding front row on a launch coaster!

It's an age old term associated with the very idea of theme parks, but I'd say a global pandemic one of the most important times ever for us all to indulge in a little escapism. Being cooped up inside for so long, especially through winter, with nothing to do and only endless doomscrolling to keep us occupied certainly has its negative effects. When it feels like you can't turn on the TV or read some social media without being confronted with the pandemic, sometimes the best thing to do is switch it all off completely and dive head first into something that's going to distract you, if only for a day. Theme parks are perfect for this - not only can we immerse ourselves in fantasy worlds, but everything is moving so quickly around us with our day packed full of one fun activity after another our brains don't even have a chance to focus on the negative stuff. It's a short term fix but certainly and effective one. 

As a content creator, something I've really missed is being able to wander around the parks with my camera, snapping photos and video of my favourite rides then getting home and spending hours trawling through editing them all. Not only does visiting the parks inspire me to come up with new and exciting things to discuss here on the blog, it's also a real creative outlet for me and one I didn't realise I missed until the prospect of being able to do it again in just a week became a reality. Being able to be physically creative again, and nurturing my various channels once more is something that really excites me - after feeling quite uninspired over this third lockdown and taking a mini-hiatus from YouTube I'm so ready to get stuck back in to making more content. 

One of the most difficult and draining aspects of lockdown has been not being able to see those we love as often as we are used to. Something I adore about my theme park trips is the ability to physically spend time with my friends enjoying a shared hobby, and generally having a laugh making new memories with every visit. It's an interaction I've yearned for over the past year, and again something I've a new found appreciation for following this third and most difficult lockdown. I took for granted the freedom I had to visit my friends whenever I wanted, and what a boost they are for my mental wellbeing. Being able to share a laugh, a joke and a ride with the people I love is one of my most favourite things to do in the whole world and I am so ready to cram as much of that into my year as possible. 

For those of us lucky enough to have happy childhood memories associated with the theme parks we still visit, there's nothing like a healthy dose of nostalgia to boost our dopamine and serotonin levels. Personally for me, parks like Chessington are fantastic at doing this as I can ride attractions like the Gruffalo or Tomb Blaster and it brings back wonderful memories of visiting the park with my family as well as the present joy of experiencing some of my favourite UK attractions. And even those parks we don't have any particular affiliation with or memories of, like Blackpool Pleasure Beach for me, still have the potential to ooze nostalgia just because of the nature of the place. A classic attraction like the Pleasure Beach reeks of the fun times of yesteryear through its iconic old rides and architecture, which in turn give a wholesome, warm feeling of love and safety - like giving your brain a big hug!


So yes, not long to go now. Here's to happier times ahead, days out with friends and family, memories to be made, fun to be had and everything generally just being a little bit less shit over the coming season, particularly mentally. 

Do theme parks help you with your mental health? What are you most looking forward to as we prepare to go back? Let me know in the comments, I'd love to have a chat!

Talk later xoxo,