Vacation from Vacation: Embracing the Human Need to RestoreSep 19, 2023
I remember a few years ago I returned from a wonderful trip to Arizona, a vacation filled with many firsts and a variety of breathtaking scenery. I met my new brother-in-law from the Dominican Republic for the first time, experienced the magnificent beauty of Sedona and the Grand Canyon for the first time, and for the first time was able to test for myself what it meant to run in the oppressive Arizona heat (something I did often, and it wasn’t really that bad, as it usually didn’t go much above 98 degrees when we where there).
My vacation was less the “sit-on-the-beach” variety and more of the “let’s go, go, go” variety. It was more of the “let’s cram everything in while we can” variety. It was full of air and car travel (I deal with motion sickness, so this stuff can be a crapshoot for me); it was full of early mornings and late nights; it was full of fun activities and eating and drinking liberally toward the end of enjoying myself and soaking up the moments; and it was full of generally being juiced up and turned on.
It was awesome! But when I got back from my trip, I was slammed with work and home responsibilities and projects. And then, about a week after my way-too-early-morning return flight home from the Phoenix/Mesa area, I felt myself crashing a bit.
It was inevitable.
We are only human, and we can’t run at full speed indefinitely. Eventually we need rest, maintenance, and restoration. So we must embrace those things in order to once again find increased energy and clarity.
And that is what I try to do.
If and when I feel myself getting worn down (which can be physical, mental, emotional, and/or spiritual), I try to get back to the basics and take some time to restore. This could involve many things, but a few examples are: additional rest; watching movies; reading; additional spiritual time; writing; exercise; spending time outdoors (sunshine is vital); attending to “mundane” household items like cleaning my office or making a much-needed trip to the library; cooking; taking some time to simply dream and plan for the future, etc.
Balance is key in life. With work we need breaks and play. After motion we need stillness. After activity we need rest. After stress we need calm.
After injury and illness we need recovery. After abuse and trauma we need comfort, encouragement, and rebuilding.
Fatigue is normal and human. Getting worn down and reaching one’s limits with regards to stress is human. These are concepts that are especially apt for people who are going through a healing process.
In my coaching, I mostly work with people who are coming off of antidepressant and/or benzodiazepine medications (I came off such medications years ago, too), and I can tell you that one of the challenges of such a recovery involves once again understanding and making peace with what it means to be human.
Medications get people used to the idea that the human experience can be hijacked, that we can become bullet-proof—without fatigue, without boredom or focus struggles, without grief or breakdown, without anxiety or depression, impervious to the many mental and physical effects of stress. But this is a fallacy.
We can become stronger and wiser, but we cannot become “un-human.”
We are born human and cannot be changed. So we must work to accept, learn more about, and go-with-the-flow of the human experience rather than constantly fighting against it or wishing for something different.
We also must work to accept, learn more about, and go-with-the flow of “being ourselves” rather than constantly fighting against ourselves or wishing we were someone different.
A part of that “going with the flow” of being human and ourselves might mean being okay with the idea that we will get anxious, depressed, angry, or restless from time to time.
And a part of that “going with the flow” means being okay with the fact we will get worn down from time to time, too; and that we will need dedicated restoration time to get back on track, which we will.
Different things might wear each of us down individually. We each have unique stresses, sensitivities, trigger points, and tolerances. And we are each at different and unique chapters of our lives.
Earlier on in a healing situation, for example, the restoration time needed after years of chronic stress and/or medication use might be more that a person generally needs to get back on track after a furiously busy workweek or vacation (and earlier on in healing, a busy workweek or vacation might wear a person down more than normal as well).
But that doesn’t matter.
Take care until next time,
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