The run up to a holiday brings with it a lot of baggage, and not just your suitcases.
For example, I get disproportionately anxious at the idea of being late for check in. I’m the fella who would rather be sitting at the gate an hour earlier than everyone else. People who saunter in at the last moment are crazy folk to me. I couldn’t live like that, which is probably indicative of something wrong with me, rather than someone else’s deficiency.
I panic about forgetting things, and with good reason. A few years back, I repacked my son’s suitcase at the last moment and neglected to put all of his trousers back in. He had to go the whole week in the jeans that he was wearing there. My ‘prize donut’ moment. He was eight, so he didn’t care.
Don’t get me wrong. I am looking forward to the holiday. There are 12 (twelve!) of us going to a holiday camp north of Venice in a week or two. My father-in-law has a well-earned reputation for being the last on the plane, historically having returned home for passports and cameras. Two years ago in Pisa, he was late because he was looking for the garage with the cheapest petrol for refilling the hire car. The stress he puts his poor wife through!
I’m anxious about the fact that there’s a changeover in Amsterdam. That’s two opportunities to lose stuff and miss a plane! The wait on the way over is just an hour. That’s a double edged sword. On the one hand, an hour isn’t too bad when you’ve got kids, but it means that even a small delay on the first leg of the journey could mess us up bad. The return connection is a six hour delay, which is a long time when you’ve got four kids and the youngest are 3 and 4.
Do I sound like I’m moaning? I do. It’s going to be a wonderful time, I know this. It’ll be great, but these are the things that creep into my brain.
The place we’re staying at has a water park in it. The kids are incredibly excited about it. They’ve seen pictures of the pirate ship in the pool and it’s got them buzzing. Every day, they’re asking how many days until the holiday. Me? I’m having anxiety dreams about losing them in the pool, or about them being taken. What a bloody killjoy my subconscious is!
I can be rational about this, particularly during the day. It will be warm and fun. The kids will exhaust themselves having an amazing time. We will get some wonderful Italian food and wine and leave with brilliant memories. It’s going to be incredible. I just need my subliminal self to accept this and allow me to enjoy the build up to my summer holiday!
There’s an art to relaxing. I actually learned useful techniques during physiotherapy for my messed up shoulder. A lot of coaxing your body into relaxing involves taking a mental step back, dropping your shoulders and controlling your beathing. You can choose to relax and you can immediately feel the benefits when you do it, physically and mentally.
I also find that copious amounts of wine and good company helps too. Luckily, both will be in plentiful supply in Italy!
How do you cope with the stresses that holidays bring?