Jan 10, 2011

Vacations from H--- (And How to Save Them)

Summary: When good vacations go bad, it's easy to get caught up in the natural disappointment you feel. But how do you recover? Rather than returning home feeling like you need a vacation from your vacation, read the 4 steps below that help you STOP and assess your situation to change your attitude.

Last Monday, I wrote about the history and meaning of the word sabbatical. I also shared how my own self-imposed writing sabbatical went awry. And I asked you to share your stories about vacations that took a wrong turn—and how you coped with the unexpected change in plans.

Here are some of the stories I received:

• Delia said she was in the midst of a bad vacation, herself. She, her husband, and their toddler had taken a two-week trip to Boston—only to be ambushed by the flu. Instead of sight-seeing, they were holed up in their hotel room for days on end, coping with their colds.

• Christine recalled a vaca to Glacier National Park where "one walloping argument ... kind of ruined a lovely place."

• Melissa and Kim said they'd also experienced fighting on supposedly romantic getaways, though they preferred not to share the details. Meanwhile, Lee Ann said she'd never had a romantic getaway with her husband! I wonder which is more emotionally upsetting?

• Mark, who is a seminary student, didn't share any vacation stories, but did say he appreciates the word choice of sabbatical—and that he'll be appreciating it even more in the years to come!

As for their emotional responses to these experiences, Delia's outlook was the most optimistic: She shared that, despite their disappointment, they were, "staying positive and united as a family." It's much more difficult to be positive all on your own, as was likely the case with the others when arguments got in the way of good expectations. Christine said she and her husband, "had spent way too much time with just the two of us at that point" when they fought on their trip.

What's the recipe for finding your happy place when you're away from home? Here are some steps that may help you STOP and reassess your situation:

1. STOP - The second you notice yourself getting worked up and upset (whether it's because you notice yourself picking a fight with others around you or because you have an emotional response like wanting to cry), stop whatever you're doing that instant. Even if you're in public, it's okay to walk away for a moment.

2. TAKE A MOMENT - Taking a moment for yourself is imperative to moving forward with peace when emotions are beginning to overwhelm you.

3. OBSERVE YOURSELF - In order to step out of yourself to objectively observe, ask yourself, "What am I feeling physically?" and "What am I feeling emotionally?" as well as "What are my thoughts?" (Read more in these two posts about methods by Abraham Low and Byron Katie.)

4. PAT YOURSELF ON THE BACK - It's important to congratulate yourself for keeping your composure. This is where affirmations come in very handy. (I've written a lot on the subject of affirmations in this blog, so I encourage you to search the phrase and check out these many posts, in addition to clicking this link.) With a healthier frame of mind, you can usually rescue your day, if not your entire trip, and find the funny side of the situation.

© KiKi Productions, Inc. 2010

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