Holiday Blues: All the feels
1. REST VS DISTRACTIONS
I was on a break: more free time and, initially, a more relaxed mind. When I feel more at ease and when my mind and body has space to breathe without life’s usual demands and responsibilities, this is when I also have space to process emotions and release tension. And this is normal, natural and – even though uncomfortable – extremely necessary for healing and reviving ourselves.
In a murky pond with dirt floating around the surface, it is too messy and unclear to see through it; so too is our mind when we are busy and distracted in everyday-life. It is only when there is no movement and the water stills that the dirt settles and it becomes clear and easy to see through. Only sometimes when on holiday, once the dirt settles and you’re floating softly and soundly through clear water, all of a sudden, you can see the dirt particles clearer and it’s like an invitation for everything to come to the surface again. What I have come to learn is that this is completely normal, and something we should allow – because this is what allows our bodies and minds to really process what has been built up for so long. Distraction in our lives through busy schedules and piling of responsibilities means that our stress might not always get released and it can accumulate, until something triggers us. In this case, our holiday and retreat can be the trigger and it is far more healing and beneficial for us to listen to these signs, rather than covering over them.
We can use our time away to release the stress and really rest from our fatigue, instead of trying to ignore these feelings in order to fulfil our expectations of our holiday: whether it’s fitting more in to see the sites or just drinking till you don’t remember the sites at all.
Yes I love a good photo and love a shot of the ocean, beach, sunny landscape. Add a yoga theme and I’m frothing. This scene was lovely – early morning yoga, super long meditation and swim – my type of morning! What we don’t see is what panned out after this… I think this was the day I spent feeling very uneasy, homesick (for my mother home) and just emotional. I wanted to stay in my Airbnb bed instead of exploring the coast. Why do we sometimes come home and need a holiday from our holiday? Why can we sometimes treat a break like an ‘escape’ from our real lives? Do you ever go away on holiday and things just don’t work out, or you feel sudden surges of lethargy, or worse – you feel stressed and anxious about small things during your day? You have to wait 20 minutes for the next train into the mountains, there are loud screaming kids shaking sand all over you on the beach, and it’s like you are a magnet for them wherever you lay your towel down for a good baking. And then if you sit with your feelings for a while, (and if you are on the beach, you might sit with them for longer than you normally would), you get yourself into deeper states of stress… then you try to drink your way out of them.
On my last holiday, I drank coffee to help perk me up and of course some wine at lunch and dinner to really try lift my mood. But the truth is, I was feeling all these emotions of fatigue, stress, anxiety and sensitivity. And drinking coffee and wine wasn’t going to fix it. Why did I feel this way when I was on holiday, away from the demands and business of everyday life? That was the very reason for it: I felt this way because I was on holiday.
While yoga and meditation do definitely bring more peace and contentedness, what is spoken less of is the way that these two practices bring to the surface deep emotions. Add a holiday to this and we have even more time to ourselves without the usual distractions. When we give ourselves time to check in and observe how we are, we are releasing tension and built up emotion and energy. We also strengthen our ability to notice more and more how we are in every moment. And not everything is sunshine and peaches all the time is it? This is natural and all part of the process and journey - to release ourselves of our every day struggles, but we have to feel them first.
From my experience of both traveling and feeling the effects of stress and anxiety, there are two factors which can contribute to how we experience holidays and how we can come home feeling truly relaxed and healed.
When I am only away for a short break, I have a tendency to place a big emphasis on fulfilling my holiday expectations. When I do this, and things don’t happen in the way I imagined they would, I find myself built up with emotion and disappointment; I am unable to enjoy what I do have, and I forget to feel gratitude for even the simplest fact that I have been able to go away on holiday. Since noticing this pattern, I have worked on acceptance of the things I cannot change. The mantra that rings loud for this is: I cannot control the outcome of situations but I can change my perspective towards them. It might be hard to not have any expectation towards your holiday, however practising the feelings of gratitude and acceptance becomes so liberating when things don’t live up to these expectations. It means that while you don’t have control over external influences, you can have even but a small amount of control over your own mind – what a feeling!