What I’ve found in my journey through life thus far, is that vacations have many meanings for many people. Also known as taking a “holiday” outside of the US, different cultures regard this time away from work and home as either a necessity or a luxury.
As a health coach, the more I learn about the ramifications of stress on our bodies, the more I realize that it is a necessity, not a luxury. It only becomes a luxury when one’s expectations might include a trip outside of their country, or their perceived need for $500 a night hotel.
Stress causes inflammation in the body and inflammation leads to disease. It depletes our adrenal glands, stresses our thyroid, and generally throws our hormones into a out of balance spiral downward. It affects our gut, and compromises our ability to digest and absorb nutrients. It results in memory loss, and makes us less effective. It also lowers our immune system, and there is some pretty nasty stuff going around out there. This is serious business!
The goal of a vacation is to unplug oneself from our daily routine and hit the reset button. It’s a way of stepping back and allowing ourselves to consider what is most important in our lives, and gain a clear perspective of what we may or may not be doing according to our true priorities. If you’re in an office, everyone else around you is “stressed” so you get sucked into in and even believe that this way of living is normal. If you are a mom, is your child’s school or sport dictating your life? If you are retired and feel overwhelmed, are you really living the retired life the way you expected?
Vacations are a time to take another look at how you are living your life according to your core values.
How you can tell if you need a vacation is similar to symptoms of people who are diagnosed with depression. Before taking that pill your doctor suggests, let’s take a look:
Mood: Anxiety, apathy, general discontent, guilt, hopelessness, loss of interest or pleasure in activities, mood swings, or sadness.
Sleeping: Early awakening, excess sleepiness, insomnia, or restless sleep. You don’t want to get out of bed in the morning.
Drinking: Relying on alcohol to relax you or as an escape.
Self Sabotage: You know how to take care of yourself with a good diet, exercise, and sleep routine, but you just can’t make yourself do it.
Recently I told my husband that I realized I need a vacation. I have several of the above mentioned symptoms. One of the things I’ve realized is that I’m not finding pleasure in my usual enjoyable activities, I also can’t stop my brain from spinning, and I’m taking on stress about things that really aren’t stressful if I were to take a step back and look at them logically. I told him that “after Lent” I need to get away.
Next week, I’ll tell you about my revelation on taking a vacation. I can almost promise you…it’s not what you think.