What I Learned While On Vacation

by Ginger on October 13, 2014

in Downtime, Family

Aloha! So nice to see you on this lovely little island…can I interest you in a Mai Tai?

Wait, what do you mean this isn’t an island? And there’s no Mai Tai? What sort of nonsense is this?

***

Hey, did I tell you guys we were going to Hawaii? For 6 days? For an actual, honest to goodness vacation? Well, we did! And it was amazing! And seriously, Hawaii is just utterly, almost indescribably, fantastic. But MAN, I did not want to come back. So, yeah, reentry from vacation is still kind of going on. Hard to imagine that coming back from a tropical paradise makes things like “reality” and “responsibility” kind of less interesting than they normally are (and you know, they’re normally SO thrilling).

But oh, vacation. It was…restorative is a good way to put it. For my mental health, for my stress & N.C.’s stress, for my marriage, for my family–it was just all around good for us. Remind me that we need to do that more often.

***

I’ve been thinking about the idea of self-care a lot lately. There are a lot of superficial (but still important IMO!) ways that I’m fairly good at it–I make time/money to get my hair done (which makes me feel awesome), I take time to experiment with & use makeup (which makes me feel awesome), I’m first in line for doctors & dentists (which don’t always make me feel awesome, but the point stands about taking care of myself). But there are a lot of ways I’m still not very good at self-care–I tend to take on emotional responsibility for the emotions and problems of those around me, I am a people pleaser to my detriment, I’m bad about speaking up about things that are bothering me, I’m not good at taking chances and risks for myself because of what others might think/my responsibility/my family needs/fear/etc.

A few days away from real life though, was like a bit of a reset button on my worst tendencies. Taking those days to recharge reminds me that self-care sometimes means more than just giving myself a manicure. It means treating ME, not my physical body but my emotional and mental self, with care and respect. It’s amazing to me how clear that becomes with a few days away.

***

Vacationing with your family can mean…compromising. With a five year old along, there were some things we just couldn’t do, and frankly, even the two adults weren’t always on the same page about how to spend our time. But that’s ok. That was another good reminder while we were there–there’s usually a middle ground between what I want/think, and what others want/think, we just need to take the time to find it. In the day to day of life, sometimes it feels easier to not take that time, to just do whatever to make life easier. Over time though, that can create frustration and bitterness, which just so happen to be those things that just slowly erode your relationships with your family, not to mention increase your own stress. But on vacation, we were in a special place, and so we made sure to take the time to figure out what we all really wanted/needed to be happy when we got back on the plane to come home. The extra little time to find that middle ground sometimes feels like too much in the real world, but how much better would we all be in the long run if we took that extra bit of time?

***

Hmmm. Maybe there were more things I took away from my vacation than just an appreciation for garlic shrimp & Portuguese sausage and an overwhelming desire to go back & see every island. This? Just another reason vacation is important.

(I’m going to do a post on what we did, where we ate, what we saw. But I needed to get this out of my head first).

Traci October 13, 2014 at 5:43 pm

Sounds like a great reminder that relaxation is as important as catching up. I’ve never been to Hawaii…will live vicariously through you. Photos?

Ginger October 13, 2014 at 9:32 pm

Oh, photos are coming. Don’t you fret 😉

Tragic Sandwich October 13, 2014 at 7:54 pm

So, the eternal first question: Which island?

Ginger October 13, 2014 at 9:32 pm

Oahu!

Kristina October 14, 2014 at 3:46 am

Good call concerning self care, I think it’s become reflex to hear ‘take care of yourself’ and think, ‘personal grooming’. But yeah it goes beyond that to our mental health and wellbeing too!

And I hear you on re-entry woes, it seems every vacation I go on it gets worse and worse :S

Glad to hear you all got a lovely breather though 🙂

april October 28, 2014 at 6:42 am

I’m so glad you had such an amazing time! Hawaii. Man, I wish – some day! Vacations are so important and you don’t even realize how much until you have one.

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