Managing holiday stress
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Ann Hogan MBACP (Accredited), MA In Counselling Studies
25th May, 20150 Comments
We’ve reached that time of year when a lot of us have booked holidays and are looking at packages, flights, apartments and camping sites online, trying to make sure that everyone has a great time.
Is this realistic? Probably not – as you may have found, planning the holiday can be difficult in itself because people have different ideas about what constitutes a great holiday. The reality may be that after saving, hoping and planning, some of the holiday is spent wishing you were back home. Despite this, a lot of us start thinking about the next holiday soon after we arrive home!
The disillusionment is often due to unrealistic expectations as well as too many commitments taken on to try to ensure things run smoothly. In addition, if you have a partner who has very different ideas – for instance, he or she finds camping really fun and energising whereas you want delicious meals, brought to you to eat on a table covered with a cloth together with a large glass of wine - there will need to be a lot of humour and compromise.
People who don’t usually think of themselves as stressed and anxious can develop headaches, overeating, insomnia and start drinking more - not a great way to spend your time!
Part of what happens is to do with the extra demands of shopping, travelling, family reunions as well as the extra financial burdens. Here are some ways to alleviate some of those feelings of tension when on holiday:
It’s not helpful to regurgitate resentments from the past when you’re preparing for your holiday or when you’re actually away. Try to think positively about what you learnt from when things went wrong – what can you do to make things better this time?
Don’t take on too much – you’ll get overtired and irritable so when people ask if there’s anything that you’d like done, tell them! Be realistic about what you can and can’t do.
Decide on your priorities and make a list, organising what needs to be done first and what’s not quite so important.
Don’t expect things to be exactly the same as they were when you were on holiday as a child. You aren’t the same person now and nor is anyone else in your family so it’s setting yourself up for disappointment by comparing today with what happened then.
Even if you have lots to fit in before leaving for your holiday, try to prepare in advance and, most importantly, try to eat well and get enough sleep. Tempting though it is to collapse into a chair and drink a bottle of wine when you’ve almost finished packing, waking up feeling groggy is not going to enhance your holiday!
Try to keep track of what you’re spending whilst you’re away – overspending can lead to more stress after your holiday when the bills start arriving and you don’t have the means to pay them.
Finally, whatever sort of holiday you decide upon, make up your mind to enjoy it and take each day as it comes! If you find that every year your holiday is a big disappointment, counselling can help you to explore why that is and how you can improve things in the future.
About the author
I am a BACP Accredited counsellor and psychotherapist working on the outskirts of Lincoln city, seeing individual clients as well as couples working on their relationship issues. I hold a Diploma in Counselling and also an MA in Counselling Studies, both gained at Nottingham University.
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