So we plan the holiday, book the tickets, pack the suitcases, organise the neighbour to look after the cat; we even remember the sunscreen.
But how many of us remember to guard our mental health while on holiday? Surveys have shown that holidays are, after bereavement, divorce, moving house and redundancy, the most stressful time in our lives.
Well, I do have to plan for my holiday, because I get ill (depressed) if I don't.
I'm lucky enough to be able to take the whole of August away from work and to spend it in a chalet right on the beach (albeit a muddy beach with more rocks than sand – but nevertheless, a beach). This is an immense privilege and I am deeply grateful, but it's not all delight.
For a start, there's no routine, or at least, there's a different routine. I like getting up early; I like meals at regular times and I really like my alone time. On holiday the family tends to sleep late, all timings are tide-dependant (because for two hours either side of high tide everyone is either on or in the water) and the chalet is so small and so stuffed full of family and friends that I rarely get more than an hour or so by myself!
So we (my therapist and I) put together a plan. Here it is, in case some elements of it might work for you.
1. Continue to do Moodscope every day (this involves buying a MIFI so I have internet access). Buddies get to watch like hawks. Also continue with tapping, meditation and EFT daily.
2. Being honest with friends and neighbours at the coast about my recent depression so they understand and give me space.
3. Severely limit the alcohol intake (very difficult in that environment) but I know it's better for me.
4. Go to bed by 10.30pm regardless of whatever beach party is going on.
5. Create a flexible menu plan and have the necessary food delivered so I'm not worried about what to feed people.
6. Ensure I create at least 2.5 hours a day solitary time (if they are out doing beach/water things I am inside with a note on the door saying "Mary is resting". If they are inside then I am out walking). This time can be used for reading or writing or crafting. The important thing for me, being such an introvert, is that I am by myself.
7. Swim for half an hour every day, or, if the weather does not allow this, take a long walk.
8. Spend half an hour a day with the children doing school homework (Most of the kids down there do this, so mine don't feel hard done by, honest!)
9. Love my husband, and make sure he does what he wants to do too.
10. Have Fun!
You will have your own priorities, but make sure you plan for your own mental health and have a great holiday!
A Moodscope member.