It's Difficult to Relax on Vacation - Why?
There is a certain pride that comes with doing. Being busy. Even on vacation I have felt the pressure to go and do versus just being and relaxing. It’s our last full day of vacation and I am wanting to do a big fat nothing today. I’m in one of the most beautiful areas of Colorado and yet I want to sit in my house on the water and watch a bad Lifetime movie and rest. I had finally decided we would do an easy two mile hike when a huge storm blew in and put that hike on hold. Then I felt guilty that I didn’t go and do anything in the morning when the sun was out. Why is relaxing and do nothing so difficult?
When I took my daughter to NYC over Christmas break we ran ourselves ragged. In fact we both got sick and flew back to Denver on fumes. It was NYC so I knew when I planned the trip that it wasn’t a beach and book vacation. I knew that NYC would mean lots of walking, shopping, some great shows and hopefully great food. It was all of that and it was exhausting. I came home and felt like I needed a vacation from my vacation. Anyone else relate? This isn’t the first time I’ve felt this - taking my daughter to theme parks always wore me out and vacations with a little one in general are work. Then I feel guilt for complaining at all- I mean who am I to complain about vacations that leave me tired when so many other people can’t even take one? Hello guilt my old friend.
So here I am in the mountains and currently watching a rain storm come across the lake. It’s thundering, lightening yet families are still running out to their pontoons because they reserved it and paid for their vacation time. I get it. I’d probably be one of those parents too since I assume you can’t get your money back. Amazing what we do to feel worth and feel like we’ve gotten our money’s worth out of a vacation or trip. I think part of it is that we have kids and we want to entertain/occupy them. The other part of us feels ‘lazy’ if we don’t accomplish anything photo worthy on our trips. Or maybe that is just me.
One thing I’ve done on these types of vacations to satisfy my guilt and my need for memories is pick one event a day. I no longer pack my days with hikes, kayaks, shopping and restaurants. That left me feeling empty and exhausted. On a vacation like this to the mountains we ‘do’ one thing a day. Maybe it’s shopping and out to dinner, maybe a hike or maybe a kayak around the lake. I also don’t get up early or set an alarm to do any of these things. Nothing kicks in my anxiety like the beeping of my alarm. I reserve that for the final day when we have to check-out at a certain time or be fined. I’m also trying to go more with the flow. Like today’s rain. It hit right when we were supposed to leave the house for our hike. I felt a little bit of relief and a little built of guilt. Just trying to be present and accept that maybe a hike wouldn’t happen is super difficult for me. That was my one thing today! What kind of mother am I if I can’t even accomplish one thing a day on vacation? Sure I made breakfast and lunch and have a load of clothes in the wash….oh…and I caught a mosquito mid-air before he bite me, but nothing outside of our mountain retreat.
The other pressure to do is the pressure we put on each other unknowingly. We ask what did you do on vacation? Where did you go? Did you hike? Can you imagine if someone came back from a trip and said we did nothing. We rested. We have no pictures to show and we are completely fine with that. I would say bravo but secretly wonder what they really did? What does nothing look like? I know when someone asks me I feel the need to explain what I’ve done. It’s almost like I’m submitting a report for a grade. Oh we hiked, went shopping, went out to dinner, found a great gelato place and took the kayaks out. I feel like that gets me a gold star while nothing gets me a sad face. Maybe we all need (and I say me here too) to accept that we need to recharge and relax. We’re not from Europe where they get a lot of vacation a year and can do or relax. We get little vacation time and feel the need to pack it in. Yet…we’re an exhausted people. My hope is that I can start embracing relaxing on vacation. I would love to embrace it in my own personal life too, but that’s a whole other beast of burden. xoxo