The holiday challenge.

Wednesday July 31, 2013

I can't be the only one who finds holidays challenging. In fact, I think I read somewhere that holidays (vacations) are some of the most stressful things that people experience.

Just think about it; you're out of familiar surroundings, possibly in a foreign country where you don't know the language and you're frequently in much closer proximity to your loved ones for longer periods of time than usual. No matter how much we love our spouses, significant others, parents and children, there's no denying that these are the people who can annoy us the most.

Before embarking on this holiday I wrote a list of promises to friends (and, yes, my therapist). These promises are a way of ensuring that I return healthy and that these weeks do not pitch me into a downward slide (as it has done before).

I have promised to eat sensibly, drink alcohol only in moderation, do my mental health exercises every day, do Moodscope whenever possible, walk 10,000 steps each day, find time to be creative and exercise my prerogative not to be sociable.

In practice this means I'm in the chalet writing this, watching the rain on the window and the waves rolling in outside while the rest of my family are all over at the yacht club chattering away as they do their sailing club thing.

Some people might see it as sad that I'm not over there too, being a "sailing mum", but thankfully my family and friends have realised that not everyone is cut out for that form of torture!

So if you find holidays stressful, it might be helpful to sit down and compile a list of promises you might make to protect your mental health. No more than two hours in the car at a time, making sure you carry on any daily mental health practices like meditating, ensuring your diet and alcohol consumption stay within healthy parameters, that kind of thing.

Oh, and keeping up the Moodscope if you can. That's the only excuse, as far as I can see, for still having access to the internet on holiday.

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