Yesterday I got home from vacation with my family. We went to Chatham, Massachusetts, which is a lovely New England beach town in Cape Cod. I took excellent care of myself on vacation and that is the topic of this post.
Self care is always one of my top priorities. When you treat yourself well, your body and mind respond in kind. Also, it demonstrates to others (your spouse, your children, etc.) that you care about yourself, and this can rub off on them. Well, hopefully, that is…
But before I tell you what I did for my self care, to maintain my sanity and my composure, let me illustrate the nuances of this vacation.
You may remember my husband was going off the deep end in the weeks leading up to vacation. He purchased a used boat and did a lot of repairs and such on it. The vacation house we rented had a boat launch, and my husband wanted a boat. So buy a boat he did. But then his bipolar flared up and he was in an acute manic state.
By the time vacation got here, part of me just wanted to say Fuck it, I’m not going. This is too much drama…
But I couldn’t do that. We rented a huge house and I knew there would be space enough for me to relax and do what I needed to help myself. Plus there were so many other people going and it would have been rude of me.
In addition to me, my husband and our 20 year old son, we also took my son’s girlfriend (that was my husband’s idea, not mine). So besides us 4, the full cast of characters in our vacation house also included:
—My mother-in-law (also my husband’s idea not mine). It’s hard for me to be around her, because she hasn’t been great to me over the years, but I am working on it.
—Buddy, our dog. I love Buddy, but I could do to vacation without him. My husband usually insists on bringing him. Over the years, we have taken him to Vermont, Walt Disney World, and Long Beach Island, New Jersey. Having a dog on vacation is work!
—My parents (my idea). Several times over the years, when my husband couldn’t get away because of business, I often took my son and vacationed with them. Having them in my life is a godsend and they live too far from me, so of course I wanted them there.
—My sister, her wife, and her wife’s daughter (my idea). I love my sister, she is very important to me.
As I said the house we rented was enormous. It was a former ship captain’s house. There were plenty of bedrooms and so space wasn’t an issue at all, thankfully. If we were jammed in a tiny place I never could have done this vacation. I would have flat out refused.
So thankfully we had plenty of space.
But any time family is together for longer than 3 days, as the old saying goes, like fish, it can start to stink…
My parents are elderly (Mom is 75 and Dad is 78), so they are set in their ways. My dad doesn’t like to do anything in his old age, except sit around. And my mom bickers with him a lot. So I had to witness that. It wasn’t horrible, but it got old fast.
Of course being around my mother-in-law triggers me. She was just always there. She lives 2 miles down the road from us, so I feel like I see her enough. But now I was living with her for a week. It wasn’t unpleasant, but it was a challenge for me. I had to watch my reactions and feelings towards her.
The dynamic of my sister and her wife with the wife’s teenage daughter was also different. My sister was in a previous long term relationship in which she raised 2 children. It ended badly. Her new wife, while nice, doesn’t work. My sister supports her and her children financially (she also has a son). So my parents accept my sister’s wife, but with reservations.
So all that was going on…. 😛
My husband was off doing his thing on the boat and planning excursions and big elaborate dinners, as is his way. He gives off a lot of frenetic energy. He also had his laptop set up in the living room, since he is never not working.
I didn’t–and still don’t— know how to interact with him since he has been so rotten, and I don’t want to scold or fight or bicker. So I pretty much avoided him. I certainly didn’t need any additional drama on vacation.
My son and his girlfriend were entwined like a pretzel the whole time, smooching and in their own world. I would try to remind them “Guys! Watch it with the PDA in front of the old folks! Please!!
But of course they didn’t listen. 😛
So while none of this stuff was TERRIBLE by any means, it was one full week of people living together with different personalities, moods, etc.
What I did for self care on vacation:
Every day, without fail, I woke up early and took a 2 mile walk to a nearby beach.
Once I got to the beach, I would stand there and just watch the little waves as they lapped up on the shore. I found a big log to sit on, and that became my little place where I meditated in the morning.
I just sat there and closed my eyes and breathed. It was so nice to sit there and hear the ocean sounds, and feel the breeze and the sunshine. People who live near the ocean are so lucky!
I used inner body awareness to anchor me in the present, and tried to remember to stay focused within as each day went on.
On most days, in the evening I walked back to the beach again. I needed to do this: To connect with my inner peace, and to keep myself balanced and serene around all the various personalities in the house.
It was a really nice vacation. We visited Provincetown, other quaint towns, and took the boat to private secluded beaches.
**The other awesome thing I did was I came home a day early!**
This gives me a full weekend to rest up and do laundry at a slow pace. No pressure to do everything in one day. Plus, we beat all the traffic coming off the Cape. (Actually we still had a lot of traffic, but it would have been worse today.)
Actually no one minded leaving a day early. We were exhausted from the heat and the beach… It was beautiful, and it was enough.
Good to know when you’ve had enough, lol!
So that’s it. That’s how I took care of myself on vacation. Today I feel rested and relaxed. I’m really glad I focused on my self care. And I’m glad I went after all!
xo, Lisa Arcelia
How’s your summer going? Have you gone on vacation? I’d love to hear how you’ve been maintaining your inner peace! 🙂