I wrote one blog post in October. Surely someone other than my Mom noticed that? I started a draft of this post back in June. It reads “June was hard on me.” Unfortunately so was July. And August. And September. And October. I shared some of that in my last post, Stress Sucks, where I also confessed I had gained back twenty of the forty pounds I lost this year. I had high hopes that this week off would finally mark the end of a five month run of stress. It almost didn’t. But thankfully I realized my staycation mistakes early on with the help of my counselor, and finally gave myself permission to take it easy before I start my new job.
Mistake #1: Attempting to add too much structure to the unstructured
Before the start of vacation I began scheduling my time off in what I now realize was an attempt to add structure to the unstructured. I filled my calendar with to-dos and all the yoga and exercise classes I wanted to take.
But then my calendar became overwhelming. I struggled between what I thought I should be doing (going to yoga) and what I wanted to do (have slow mornings in my pajamas with lots of coffee and reading.)
“You are a very structured person,” my counselor said. “Structured people struggle with unstructured time, which is why they often can’t wait to get back into a routine. But this is your vacation.”
I realized I could do with a bit of unplanned time, so I stopped scheduling it all.
Mistake #2: Overly ambitious and unrealistic plans
I overwhelmed myself with ambitious and unrealistic plans. These plans included working out every day, eating perfectly, writing every day, and completing about eight
thousand million projects. Is it any wonder I started vacation with splitting headaches and wanting nothing more than to sleep? Guilt gnawed at me, like a hamster on a carrot. What I should be doing ran through my head on repeat and the headaches intensified.
“What are your MAIN priorities this week?” my counselor asked.
I considered them. “Eat healthy. Umm, exercise every day for at least 45 minutes, rest, get my clothes ready for my first week of work. Oh, and write!”
Eating perfectly was never going to happen and I should have known better than to even let that combination of words pass through my mind. I had so many social plans and meals out that it was impossible. Not to mention it was Halloween! So again, I eased up on myself.
Identifying my primary goals also helped me realize that I didn’t need to go to yoga most days, especially since my body wasn’t up for it. I walked around Philadelphia nearly five miles with my Dad on Thursday. That counts. So does hitting the treadmill in my basement while I watch an episode of Scandal. I’m doing what my body is up for. After all, I’m still sleeping twelve hours every night and recovering from whatever stress my body’s been under, which leads me to…
Mistake #3: Denying the magnitude of the transition
I truly don’t feel stressed or anxious about starting my new job. I have only felt stressed or anxious about wasting this week (see mistake #4).
But my counselor helped me realize that regardless, the transition is causing anxiety. This is a major life change. There are residual emotions over leaving my previous job and there are many unknowns about the new job. I haven’t noticed because I’ve gotten skilled at staying in the present, but obviously, there are emotions lingering. It was a mistake to not acknowledge the magnitude of this life-changing transition. Once I did, that helped me to be more gentle with myself.
Mistake #4: Judging use of time
No one is productive all the time. I don’t care what they say. And personally, I don’t think that would be healthy. But I did go into this week thinking that binge-watching Stranger Things Season 2 was a waste of precious time. Anything that wasn’t writing, cleaning, prepping, cooking, producing was a waste of time. But once we identified my goals for the week, one of which is to rest, I realized there was a lot of time where I could do whatever I wanted.
So after counseling, I went home and watched Stranger Things over lunch. On Halloween, I ran my errands in the morning and then finished the season throughout the afternoon. Time wasted? No way. I enjoyed it.
So much of our stress is self-inflicted. Seriously. We put far too much unnecessary pressure on ourselves it’s ridiculous.
I was disappointed I only posted once last month. The need to write and get something up certainly gnawed at my mind. But I had nothing to say at the time, and the truth is that I had higher priorities. I gave myself permission to take the break to focus on other things. And frankly, I was exhausted all the time.
I try to live by example with this site, which is why I share so openly and honestly with you all. What kind of inspiration can I be if I start posting for the sake of posting and give myself a break down in the process?
Priorities shift as life shifts. And I’m doing my best to roll with it.
So I made some staycation mistakes. And I didn’t eat perfectly. I slept A LOT. I watched a lot of Netflix. Not much writing happened. But I DID have quality time with numerous people. And best of all, I finally feel better. The headaches are gone and I feel rested.
I’m ready for the next chapter.