The trouble with holidays
The Oxford dictionary defines a holiday as "an extended period of leisure and recreation".
For some, holidays really are a time to relax and re-charge the batteries, spend time with friends and family. Plans start weeks, maybe months, ahead - who will be there? What shall we do? What shall we eat?! The anticipation is half the enjoyment.
For others, holidays are a real trial, something to get through without too much damage.
Family gatherings can be fraught with expectation, haunted by memories of an unhappy upbringing. Party talk reminds us of how lonely or lost we feel while everyone around us seems so happy. Suddenly our lives seem dull, work unrewarding, the future uncertain.
Feelings we can find a place for while we have the distraction of work, school or day to day living threaten to break through messily when free time looms. Relationships come under strain as we struggle to contain our mixed up feelings.
Some of us plan to be busy and active to make sure there is no real free time. Some of us hunker down and self-soothe with TV box sets, comfort food and a glass or two of wine. Sedate our way through.
For many, holidays are the time we get ill - the body telling us we have been living on adrenaline, and now we need to stop.
When we return to normality and reflect on the holiday we may joke wryly how we "need a holiday after the holiday!!", but there is real truth in this. The holidays tested our emotional resilience to its limits.
If any of this resonates with you, there may be clear reasons - current life events that just take a lot to get though. If the reasons are less clear, and the feelings just won't go away then maybe it's time to talk.
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