Why is it that holiday time always flies by so fast?
Like a desert oasis you trek through a barren wasteland of work, schedules and commitments, only to reach this much needed refuge, briefly bask in it, before it dries up and you have to move on.
Back to the daily grind and routine.
Maybe the old line ‘time flies when you’re having fun’ is fitting and holidays are certainly what most of us live for. They are a time to relax, recharge, enjoy the fruits of our labors and de-stress.
But, strange though it may seem, sometimes holidays invariably bring their own levels of stress.
I remember once excitedly planning this holiday abroad but the ordeal to get organised, packed and to the airport on time, left me feeling frazzled before the plane had even taken off. I watched families around us at the airport all with similar looks of stress and I wondered why we do it to ourselves?
Yes, it is good once you ‘get there’ (and I’m including the stay-at-home holiday here too) but then there can be the built up expectation to ensure everyone has a good time, it’s your holiday after all. Something you’ve been waiting for, yearning for with such anticipation.
So naturally with all this going on, sometimes you end up feeling that little pang of stress, frustration or even angst?
Frustration at not having done all the things you’d planned? Frustrated at the kids whining, or frustrated at even being frustrated on your holiday!
‘Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory’. Dr Suess
Yes, I’m a fan of The Holiday as much as the next person.
Yes, it’s wonderful to even have them.
Yes, I love a good mix of slouching about with a few arranged activities.
So I figure in order to cure any aliment, it’s important to work out what the potential triggers are first.
3 Potential Causes of Holiday Angst
1. Overestimating the time you have to do things.
At the beginning of the hols I inevitably put together (either a mental or paper copy) a ‘to do’ list. You know, things like; sort out the vegie garden, read this, that and some other book, go to the movies, plan some unit for work, take the family camping etc.
The list of course gets added to during the hols and items get removed but swiftly replaced. I figure if during my working weeks I can’t accomplish any of these things, surely in my holidays with all this free time, I can do it all!
Yep, we all know how this ends.
2. Underestimating your ability to be motivated.
Yes, holidays are considered special days of rest and relaxation and so my body and mind are quick to commit to that premise. This means that bloody ‘to do’ list hasn’t a hope in hell from the get go really.
I’d rather watch crappy TV than tick off another ‘I should’ do item on that damn list. So now guilt stealthily creeps in too, just to add salt to the wound.
3. Factoring in family.
I love them with every ounce of my being, but damn they require attention. Throw out the window any visions you have of enjoying some R&R with little ones about and a husband who can’t sit still.
We’re a unit, so there are going to have to be compromises made, yet that old nostalgia for the days of just lying on a beach or quietly reading a book uninterrupted, still lovingly haunt me.
3 Ways to Avoid Holiday Angst
So now these curious causes are acknowledged, what the heck can we do to avoid holiday angst returning time and time again.
1. Obviously throw that bloody ‘List’ out the window!
Easier said than done if you’re a planner like me by nature or sneakily allow that mental list to tally just the same. So to keep it real, lessen the list at the very least. Factor in lots of freetime and be realistic about what needs to be done as opposed to what you would like to do.
2. Allow yourself to be non-committal, sluggish, settled and just a little selfish.
Holidays are exactly for that purpose really. A break from the 9-5, the daily grind, the routine or as I like to say ‘the expected’. Make as little plans as possible, live day-to-day and mix things up a bit.
3. Finally, family time matters.
It’s life, it’s real and it’s going to make any holiday interesting, that’s for sure. Go with it. Kids especially have this uncanny ability to commandeer all your free time, food supply and patience. But it is their holiday too.
So maybe none of this is news to you. Maybe you’re a ‘panster’ and love going totally feral in your holidays; dread locks, bare feet and a recluse.
I get that….I am coming round to this idea.
But if for the meantime, you’re like me and just want to enjoy a holiday for all intents and purposes, then maybe it is possible to avoid the angst and give ourselves a bit of a ‘break’ too.