Going on vacation means taking a break from the stress of everyday life, but if the holiday itself becomes a source of stress, we risk returning to the starting point. Perhaps we need to rethink the holiday not as an escape from stress but as an opportunity to dedicate ourselves to what makes us feel good and who we really want.
Have you already planned your perfect holiday? Do not wait to be able to finally leave behind all the stress, problems, and worries of every day? Already see you on a whitewashed beach and palm trees all around or wandering on a cool trail with impressive mountains in the background?
Going on vacation means to set aside the responsibilities, commitments and deadlines that daily fill our days. It means starting with the desire to have fun and relax, to find the energies lost for a long time and to be able to take a break from all the stress that pervades our existences.
Sometimes, however, some of our attitudes can lead us to live even stressful vacations. And perhaps it may be useful to review the holiday concept not as an escape from stress, but simply as an opportunity to devote ourselves to what we like and to stay with those who love it.
The ideal sense of the holiday is to “break away” from everyday life, a break from the stress that accompanies us throughout the year. Paradoxically, however, the same vacation can become a source of stress, even before this beginning: planning, budget to allocate, suitcases, travel are all elements that can give rise to worries and tensions.
On holiday, there is also a significant change over the ordinary. We find ourselves in a temporal window in which everything (or almost) changes: times, everyday routines, but also the spaces and moments when we find comfort when we feel the need.
Yet, even though many things may look different, we are always us to go on vacation. We, with our expectations, our problems, our needs. With our ideas on how things should be, how they should go, what to do and what to do.
In a sense, then, we can only start with the body, not with the mind. All that’s already in our head comes in our suitcase. The risk is that we have waited a whole year for us to find ourselves, though on vacation, at the starting point. Disconnect, but without disconnecting.
Expectations of relaxation
Let’s tell the truth: the fact that we are on vacation does not necessarily mean that stress disappears immediately from our lives once we get off the plane. It always starts with the expectation of “relax”, to finally experience a period without thoughts or worries, just fun and inner peace.
Let’s start, that is, oriented towards what we imagine will be a beautiful period of our life, without problems or anxiety. With this idea deeply rooted in our head, what will happen to the first unexpected? It may be a delay to the airport, an endless line on the freeway or the owner of the rented apartment that we do not see and do not answer the phone.
The dream is already partially broken. In a moment, we hear again mounting stress, perhaps accompanied by phrases such as: “Here, I’ll never be good one!”, “I came to relax and I feel worse than before!”
Let’s mean, I’m not saying we expect the worst of our vacation. Rather, it is important to start with the awareness that “vacation” does not mean “escape from stress”. If we start with this expectation, the first unexpected will inevitably return to the starting point.
The duty to have fun
When you leave, but even days before actually doing this, your head begins to fill with images and thoughts on how to be on vacation. “I have to have fun, I have to relax, I have to put aside my thoughts, I have to enjoy every moment, I do not have to worry, I do not have to stress.”
In short: put aside the “duties” of ordinary life, we replace them immediately with the “duties” of vacation. Nothing wrong with this, for charity. Although, well looking, it almost seems to be back in the office with the thousands of things to do or at home with the many problems that need to be resolved.
Sometimes, the occupations take the form of well-structured activities programs: the first night seafood dinner at the seaside, the next morning the beach corset at 6, the third day with the whole family at the amusement park, the day after water skiing and that after still paragliding.
Whether they are programs or attitudes, the risk is to mentally structure a series of conditions that, if they do not occur, can become their own condition of stress and discomfort. It is so that the holiday, long-awaited escape from the burden of everyday suffering, becomes a rigid scheme in which we feel embarrassed in the desperate attempt to be better.