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Vacation Anxiety

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Vacations are supposed to be a time to relax. A time to sleep in and indulge. No forced trips to the gym, no household responsibilities, no counting calories, and definitely no stress.

But what happens when someone actually likes the routine of every day?

With my vacation quickly approaching—we leave tomorrow—I can already feel the anxiety starting to build. And we aren’t talking about the normal tension one feels over getting to the airport on time or dealing with the rental car companies. My anxiety stretches well past that.

I’m nervous about not having my “safety nets.” I know daily what I need to accomplish and how to go about getting to that short term goal. I know what I will do in the morning after breakfast and I know that I will go to the library to “work” through the afternoon. I know that my husband will be waiting for me at home with a smile on his face and that my cat will curl up on my lap after dinner.

I am safe in these routines and habits. I know exactly what to expect at any given moment. I know that I don’t have to worry about any surprises popping up. I’m not good with the unexpected. And vacations are all about letting go of the daily grind and trying new things.

For me that means one week of no plans, no routines, no responsibilities, no obligations, and no security blankets. One week of anxiety for me, and pure heaven for my husband.

I’m sure there’s some medicine out there that my doctor could subscribe for this condition, but I don’t want to be a uncaring zombie either. I want to have a balance. I want to be able to enjoy a vacation!

Thinking logically, it’s not like I actually love everything about my daily routine. There are plenty of responsibilities that I would rather go without, like folding laundry. But there are plenty of things that I do enjoy.

I think that finding a balance is going to be the key to keeping the anxiety at bay. I may not be able to have all the securities of home, but I can find a way to incorporate part of my routine into our vacation.

My “security blanket” will be my writing, my Sudoku puzzles, and my reading. I can find comfort in long walks with my husband and quiet mornings sipping on my coffee. I will embrace those moments of calm and remember them when I start to get anxious about not knowing what exactly is coming up next on our vacation.

I will find comfort in talking through my stress with my husband and trust him to be the responsible one—the one who handles the rental car catastrophe or finds the right gate at the airport.

And if the anxiety does sneak up on me, I will breathe. Or go for a walk. Or scream into a pillow. Whatever I need to release the tension and move on so I can get back to enjoying my vacation.

Fifty-one weeks out of the year, I do the same thing. Starting tomorrow, on my ride to the airport, I’m going to embrace the opportunity to spend one week, just seven short days, being adventurous and not being scared—trying to learn to live without a safety blanket. Who knows? Maybe the experience will make me more confident in everyday life as well.

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