The post vacation hangover is real! Anyone with a family in particular knows what I’m talking about. Last week was our kids spring break so like many families, we jetted off to someplace warmer for a little fun in the sun. Given that we’re expecting a new addition next month, this was also likely our last trip for a little while so we wanted to make the most of our time. Ordinarily I’m not really an “activity” person on vacation. I enjoy leisurely trips that allow me plenty of time to read, write, and reflect. My perfect vacation would be sitting in a cabin overlooking the scenic mountain range with a book in my hand and silence all around me. Whenever I describe this to my wife she wonders what kind of fantasy world I’m living in where there aren’t also several screaming kids running around…Point is, it’s kind of difficult to both relax and enjoy vacations, particularly with young children who you’re also responsible for entertaining.
We’ve done a fairly good job of this in the past, mixing up our plans with a few activities and some down time. For example, when we went to Disney last fall for the first time, every day mid-day we went back to our hotel room on the resort for a nap and after resting came back for the afternoon/evening. It worked for us. This past week we tried to strike the same balance, and for the most part it worked except that I arrived back home with a few days left, and realized that I hadn’t really spent a ton of time reading or writing, two of the things that help me unwind the most. In fact, I hadn’t done either. On top of that, I came back to a few days filled with tasks that needed to be completed. Needless to say, I was in danger of ending the week feeling more burnt out than I began.
Fortunately there are grandmothers (and aunties!) who volunteer to take your children off your hands for a weekend. Perhaps they sense your pain or perhaps they’re just doing a great job at being the village that you need, and trust me, you need a village. No one can, nor should they, attempt to raise children alone. Everyday I thank God for our extended family, near and far, who play a role in helping us raise the girls. In our case, our village afforded my wife and I some much needed down time, which in turn allowed me to finally relax and get my head together before jumping back into work.
Now, while I am dealing with the post vacation hangover, (you know, simply trying to get back into the groove of things), it’s been made a little easier by the fact that I got some time to myself to recharge and refocus. On vacation at least your mind can relax about your everyday to do list. But once vacation ends, it’s back to the overwhelming real world, so it helps to have some coping mechanisms. Our lives are too busy not to pause from time to time. We’re just simply not wired to be on the go 24/7.
While on vacation I did get a chance to read a little about mindfulness and I attempted to practice that in the car yesterday while picking up the girls from school. I’d just dealt with a mini emergency at work, another one at home with the roof, I was late picking up the girls from school, and on top of that I had to turn around to go back to their school to retrieve a fundraiser order. In my head was a running list of things that still needed to be done before dinner that evening and I could feel myself starting to freak out a little. So, I simply started doing a little breathing exercise I’d taught myself (or rather Samantha taught me). Then I reminded myself that nothing I was facing was in fact the end of the world. Things will get done…eventually. And guess what? They did, for the most part. I even went to bed relatively early enough to read a chapter in a new book I’d purchased over break. Perhaps I’m starting to find my post-vacation groove after all.