I took a very relaxing, very refreshing three day weekend last weekend. Usually, when I take a trip, I enjoy the trip but do not necessarily come back refreshed. First of all, as a child, we did not take a lot of overnight vacations. And, when we did, they always seemed to be stressful: money was tight, my mom did a lot of the work to get ready and go, and we stayed someplace where my mom had to do meals and housework... So a lot of the emotional atmosphere of the vacation was not leisure but business as usual, or even stressful.
I am very task oriented, so "letting go" on a vacation has been hard for me. I tend to plan trips that require certain itineraries or activities that also put pressure on me.
And, I am so anal about my work, that I feel required to "get ahead," not leave anything for my coworkers who are covering for me, to the extent that I feel obligated to work extra-hard to get ready to go. When I return, I feel the need to get "caught up" right away...So, I put a lot of pressure on myself at work in regards to preparing for and returning from vacation.
My most recent weekend trip was different: while I "worked ahead" at work, and did some weekend chores during the week, getting ready to leave town was not that stressful. And returning to work was not stressful.
Mostly, though, the plan for my vacation included some specific activities, but nothing required an exact or compact timeline. While I like camping trips, I stayed in a motel, and had little maintenance chores to do for myself. Part of what made the trip so relaxing was that I drove through long stretches of beautiful countryside: What I think are beautiful prairies and plains, rolling sand hills, canyons small and large, coniferous and aspen forested mountains with babbling brooks or rivers chasing the winding road... Just gorgeous.
This was one of the most relaxing trips I have ever taken...And, amazingly for me, as the work week progressed, and I found myself dealing with the stressors of the day, I was able to take myself back to that relaxed floating feeling I had while I was away...
I do not recall ever doing that with a vacation before...I wonder if I have had other trips that I could have done that with, but did not...Surely, this is not the FIRST time in my life I had a trip that was that relaxing, that stress-free, that enjoyable...
Labels: anal retentive, habit, idyllic, lesson in life, mental health, pastoral, plans, schedule, self care, spontaneity, stress, travel, vacation, work