Every day is filled with professional and family responsibilities. In the daily rush, we have little time for self-reflection and listening to our inner voice. Fixed hours for working and doing other activities, picking up children from the kindergarten – all this creates a framework within which we function. It is then easier to push problems away, drown out emotions and keep unpleasant information out of our lives, relationships, work and ourselves.
Holiday throws us out of our routine. Suddenly we have to create the framework of the day from scratch. At the same time, freedom from daily chores means that decisions must be made. What are we going to do? With whom? Am I sure I will make a good choice? There are so many holiday attractions at your fingertips, yet it’s impossible to take advantage of them all! For some, the very need to answer these questions causes anxiety. Sometimes panic attacks unrelated to any specific event can occur during the holidays: being pulled out of the daily routine and having “too much time to think” cause previously suppressed negative emotions and repressed fears to “take command”.
Don’t drown out your inner voice!
Escaping into action is one form of disconnecting from one’s own emotions, desires and self-consciousness. However, it is a self-destructive method! Sooner or later repressed thoughts, emotions, fears and problems will hit even harder. Worse, this often manifests itself as psychosomatic illnesses. Isolating yourself from your inner self prevents you from being the director of your own life. You let others direct you. You are unable to plan wisely your own goals and how to achieve them, because you don’t even know what you really want.
Holiday is the perfect time to think about how you want to plan for the next year
What are you going to change, experience, learn? I am often visited for career coaching sessions by clients who, while on holiday, realised how unhappy they were at work and didn’t want to return to it. It happens that when the pain, stomach ailments or allergies that bother them every day disappear during the holiday, they realise that their source is a toxic situation in the company, mobbing, working beyond their means, professional burnout or simply a mismatch between their current job and their current needs or psychophysical capabilities.
Write down your emotions and thoughts
An effective method recommended in coaching and psychotherapy is to pour your feelings and thoughts onto paper. The need to put them into words makes it easier to put them together, “tame” and understand them, and to look at them from a distance. Psychologically, it’s best if you do it by hand. If you don’t have that option, then save them on your phone or send e-mails to yourself. You can go back to these notes and use them for further work on yourself or destroy them as soon as they are written. The very act of writing (verbalizing one’s thoughts) is crucial.
Open up to feedback
When spending all the time with loved ones, it is easier to notice when someone has a problem. Especially with addictions. Then there are no more excuses like “I have to be online all the time because my work requires me to”. It’s more apparent if a partner abuses alcohol or spends hours browsing online stores. It’s harder to hide depression, panic attacks or emotional disarray. If your partner says they see a problem in you, instead of reacting with indignation, listen carefully to what they have to say and think about it. The sooner you realise the problem, the better the chances that you will make an effective attempt to get out of it.
Take a test
When lying on the beach, do you constantly look at your phone? Instead of appreciating the beauty of your surroundings, you only think about uploading another post on social media and anxiously count “likes”? Do you check your work e-mails several times a day? Or do you drink alcohol with every meal? Do you eat beyond your means every day and then feel bad? Addictions can involve both substances (e.g. drugs) and activities, so-called behavioural addictions, e.g. shopaholism, compulsive overeating, workaholism, webaholism (Internet addiction). Check during your holiday if you can refrain from these activities even for 1-2 days.
If you are unable to, or it requires a great deal of effort on your part, and makes you restless, obsessively think about the activity, or worse, absent-minded (“withdrawal”) symptoms appear on a physical (e.g. insomnia, headaches) or psychological level (e.g. irritability, increased anxiety, shame), then it is probably an addiction. Be sure to make an appointment with an addiction specialist (e.g. psychotherapist or psychiatrist) upon your return.
If you can’t cope with your emotions, e.g. on holiday you still feel unreasonable anxiety, sadness, social phobia, talk frankly with your partner or arrange a consultation with a psychologist or crisis coach. Instead of going deeper into self-destruction, seek support! If you feel that some problem overwhelms you, do not hesitate to seek the help of a psychotherapist, coach or other specialist.