Don't get me wrong, I'm not talking about holiday stress as in your holiday itself is stressful. I'm talking about your stress getting in the way of your long anticipated holiday!
I love my holidays. I’m not a handbag or shoes girl, I don’t even spend much on clothes, and I’m pretty low maintenance when it comes to beauty stuff.
Holidays are what I get excited about – and what I spend any spare money I have on. And my summer holiday is the highlight of my year. I plan it months in advance and with so much detail so that I know nobody will be disappointed.
In fact, it’s my mission each year to surpass the year before – my ultimate joy is getting to the destination and seeing the surprise on my kids faces – my job is done!
So when something doesn’t go perfectly, it’s hard for me to accept. And the last 2 summer holidays have resulted in a couple of things that I need to start learning from!
My 2 big holiday mistakes
- I got sick! For the last two summer holidays, I have been ill. It normally happens as soon as I start to relax, usually around day 2-3. And I know why. The run up to the holiday is usually manic. I'm rushing around getting ready and making sure everything is up to date so I can fully relax. Oh the irony!
- I can’t actually switch off totally. So when I am away ‘relaxing', I find it so hard to actually switch off from my work. It should be easy, right? It's what I've been craving the whole year, time to just chill. But all that free time just feeds my addiction! I’m still checking my work emails every day, and still scrolling through Facebook and Instagram (this feels like a big guilty confession!).
The thing is I preach this stuff to my clients! Cortisol is the no 1 hormone disruptor! It can lead to weight gain, mood swings, brain fog, fatigue, low libido, insomnia, anxiety – all the main symptoms of menopause.
AND guess what? It weakens your immune system, so when your body starts to relax, you’re vulnerable to picking up an infection.
Stress management is a priority for all women over 40, even if you’re not experiencing menopausal symptoms, you’re in peri-menopause, and the better you manage your stress and cortisol, the more likely you’ll be one of the 20 or so % of women that sail through this phase.
Now, I don’t have any symptoms other than getting ill when I stop work, but it’s definitely a wake up call for me. And because I’m not really aware of the stress of my daily life as its happening (I do meditate, practice yoga, sleep well, etc), it’s only when I stop that it tends to hit me!
And it was adrenal fatigue that set me off on my own health journey in the first place. I got my cortisol tested and it was a flat line over the course of the day (not good!), so I really should know better.
So this year, I’m listening. I hope I am finally getting the message!
How to reduce holiday stress;
I've just confessed that I'm a total ‘work in progress' on this. So for next year, I'm committing to better managing my stress so I can fully relax. Here's how;
- Better preparation in the run up to my next holiday – I'm going to block out more time so everything is not last minute, ask for more help (work, home, whatever), postpone and delay non-urgent stuff – and not try to fit it all in.
- Leave the laptop at home – I'll have a contingency if something urgent comes up, but this is not a time to work. I'm going to put my phone in a drawer for the day, and check it once for any emergencies. NO social media…..:)
So, that's my commitment for the next holiday. I'll see if it makes a difference. I hope it will because I'm already getting a bit fed up with coming down with something on holiday and not enjoying it to the full.
If you are going away, I wish you an amazing trip. If you've just come back, I hope you enjoyed yourself and managed to fully switch off.
Please leave a comment below and tell me how you manage your stress before and during your holidays. And if you recognise yourself here and could use a little help in this area, then please book a discovery call with one of the team.
Why not test your cortisol to see how really stressed you are?!