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Holiday Preparations Wednesday July 30, 2014

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.

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heather Wed, Jul 30th 2014 @ 10:44am

Dear Mary, as I am now retired my partner and I make a point of going on holiday together, just the two of us. I have had camping holidays with the kids which were pretty hard going, and we have seen grandparents with their grandchildren, tearing their hair out and saying "never again". The FOUR week holiday you are talking about does sound like a challenge for any Mum ! So stick to the plan and keep taking the tablets ! I do so hope you will enjoy it and please keep us posted. Love from Heather xx

Anonymous Wed, Jul 30th 2014 @ 1:19pm

Sound stuff, Mary. Many thanks, as ever. Good to know that I am not alone in dreading holidays too. Go well.

Anonymous Wed, Jul 30th 2014 @ 1:35pm

How about staying at home and letting everyone else go off and bond! Enjoy doing nothing do what you want or just watch DVD's and lie in the shade. Husband and family doesn't mean we are welded to them. At least on your own you only have to deal with you and not the vagaries of everyone else. Worth thinking about.

Anonymous Wed, Jul 30th 2014 @ 2:09pm

Have a fine holiday, Mary.
Today, I go from JSA to ESA.
Not a plan, just a fine doctor.
Rachmaninov wrote a piano concerto for his doctor.
I think I will write a song about mine.
Or invite him to my band's first gig.
Ringo was the only one of The Beatles that ever worked, so that's my inspiration.
Sun sun sun
Here it comes.
Love, R.

Anonymous Wed, Jul 30th 2014 @ 7:48pm

Mary, your blog posts always strike such a chord with me and I find them so very helpful. Every time you post I keep meaning to tell you what how helpful I find them, and then.get caught up in life and don't. So sorry! Today's post was so fabulous it's finally spurred me on to say thank you. I go on holiday and wonder why I'm feeling more ill rather than well. The stresses and strains of home life and work may vanish but so too do my routines that I treasure that keep me safe and well. I'll be writing a checklist for my hols, one that allows spontaneity and fun, but keeps me anchored too. Such a good idea. I'm less stressed already knowing how much it will help. I wish you sunny days and if they're not possible, a good brolly and a hug to see you through. You've made such a difference to my life, please remember that when things seem grey xxx

PWD Wed, Jul 30th 2014 @ 8:16pm

I have often felt very guilty when we get back off holiday, I feel like I have spoilt many days for my lovely wife who is very understanding. And she deserves a good holiday

Silvia A Wed, Jul 30th 2014 @ 8:52pm

Mary this time I immediately identified this is a Mary's message!

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