by Jennifer Sey
I don’t generally take vacations. Even before the recession friendly “stay-cation” became popular (and got a name), I took them. My husband hates to fly and I don’t like being trapped in a Corolla with two kids on long car trips. So we always settled on doing nothing.
I’d take a week off, hang out at home with my kids, doing stuff I don’t usually get to do with them. Take them to school, pick them up, get an afternoon ice cream cone. I’d clean the closets and the junk drawers. And tell myself this was just what I needed. In between maybe I’d catch a movie or get a pedicure. Throughout, I’d check my work email. And voice mail. Call in for the odd meeting here and there. In the end, this was not so relaxing.
This year I decided I’d take an actual vacation even if the hubbie didn’t want to go. He opted out which would usually be enough for me to give in to the stay-cation out of guilt (shouldn’t I spend my time off with him?) But I stayed true to my promise to myself and took the kids to Maui. Best decision I ever made.
Blue water, bluer skies. Plenty of action – snorkeling, hiking, parasailing. And plenty of rest. On the beach, by the pool, on a boat. All with afternoon cocktails, of course.
I managed to put my handheld email device down for long stretches, though I’ll cop to checking at the end of each day. I rarely responded to any despite the itch to do so (I’ll take progress over perfection). I had no conference calls. I cleaned no closets. I fell asleep easily each night, then slept for ten straight hours. I even pooped every morning (I clench when I’m stressed) upon awakening with a jaw that wasn't achy from teeth grinding. And the result was that I actually felt relaxed.
I’d been told this could happen but I had my doubts. How could I relax by not checking my email when the mere knowledge that they were backing up would be causing me anxiety? When something makes me tense I generally lean into it even harder. Go right for the sore spot. Yeah, make it bleed. Eventually it’s so sore you can’t even feel it anymore. It’s just how you are.