"I've been feeling sorta crappy, so I'll book a holiday and all my troubles will melt away!" - It's a nice idea isn't it, but more often than not that's not the reality of living with mental health conditions on holiday. While time away to relax, unwind and destress is great, you still take your brain on holiday with you.
This year on holiday I had a few days where I was really struggling to feel on top form. and to make matters worse, because I didn't feel good I had this guilt, like I'm on a beautiful holiday, surrounded by the people I love, I should be feeling amazing. One day I actually burst into tears in Jamie's arms while in the pool, why did I feel like this?! It was very frustrating but I realised, (with a nudge from Jamie) giving myself a hard time for feeling like this wasn't going to make me feel any better. So here are my top tips for living with mental health conditions while you're on holiday. Some of them may not apply to you, some of them may not be helpful, so if you have any ideas as to how you deal with your mental health condition on your holibobs let me know, cos I'm always looking for more ways to cope!
Important note: I have used photos from my holiday for this post, these photos were taken when I was happy and enjoying myself, I didn't take photos on the days I felt rubbish. Please remember photos don't reflect all of reality, and I don't always look or feel the way these images present me!
1) Dealing with travel anxiety.
If like me you really stuggle with travelling, then you need to realise the day before and of your jouney, both coming and going are probably going to be hard. I hate flying with a passion, and I swear airports are designed to make you nervous. So my advice be ready, be packed a couple of days in advance, have your transport to and from the airport sorted, and no exactly where you need to be when. Write lists so you know for sure you haven't forgotten anything as you pack. I'm always still left with that nagging feeling that I've forgotten something, but my trusty lists keep me somewhat sane. Knowing that you will feel anxious but that in reality everything is sorted really helps me tell myself it's all ok.
2)Give yourself a break
As stated before you can't beat yourself up for bringing your brain with you on holiday, unfortunately you sorta need it. I found myself getting really anxious that I wasn't making the most of my holiday, that i wasn't experiencing enough of what portugal had to offer. But once I realised that it was ok to have a day where I didn't want to go out, and i just wanted to snooze by the pool, i felt miles better. That's perfectly legit! Remember it's your holiday, and if traipsing around a museum, being on a beach in front of 100s of people, or just waking up doesn't seem like fun, you don't have to!
3) Get some rest
I slept so much on holiday, and it was glorious! I started off the holiday feeling like I wanted to get up early every day to make the most of it. And I started to feel annoyed at myself when I couldn't manage that. But in reality it was so hot, if I had been rushing around all day I would have been knackered. Really what are holidays for if not for lie ins and siestas. So don't beat yourself up, and catch up on some Zzzs, Because we all know mental health and sleep can be a tricky mix.
4) Try to let real life stresses go
So I know I said you take your brain with you, but you don't have to take your work. I found myself a few times worrying about the blog, and my next steps when I got home. But for what? I couldn't do any of the things I was worrying over, I couldn't even plan them. So let them go. Whatever your work is, leave it behind. This is your holiday after all! And I know that is much easier said than done, but each time you notice a worry materialising beat it back into submission with the knowledge that it's not for now.
5) Put down that phone!
I see you just quickly checking instagram, emails, twitter. STOP! I gave myself one day where I posted an already written blog post, and checked up on my insta. But other than that I tried to be off my phone as much as possible. Stop checking in to see if so and so has replied, or if your followers have gone up, being preoccupied with your phone all the time isn't healthy, so a holiday should be as much as possible a phone free zone! (of course you may want to grab some holiday snaps and that's ok, just no endless scrolling.)
6) Grab some alone time
If you're on a group holiday it can feel stressful having to always be with and please the group. So try to grab some alone time, a good group of friends/family will understand. Stay in one day when everyone goes out, go for a wander by yourself, or just lock yourself in your room for an hour to read your book. You don't have to please other people all the time, remember it's your holiday and you need to do what's best for you.
Me and Alice having a little photoshoot, pretending to be straight outta bay watch! Spot the Jamie.
7) Having a cry on your holiday is ok
Crying in the pool was my lowest point, but Jamie, being the angel his is, hugged me and told me it was ok. I felt pathetic, I couldn't work out why I was crying. But a hug was all I really needed, and to know it's ok to cry on your holidays.
So there you go all my tips for dealing with holidays. I've also found coming home quite hard, getting back into routine hasn't been easy. I've been really struggling the past week And it feels like forever since I've been in the kitchen creating. Aren't you supposed to come back from holidays feeling refreshed and raring to go? I guess not, but I'm hoping posting this will kickstart me back into action. Thanks for reading and I hope some of you will find this a little bit useful!