Officially I only had 2 weeks vacation, just like so many others, when it comes to work. However it felt way longer and although I started working again four weeks ago I can still feel the holiday vibes. Lucky me! I wonder how much longer I can hold on to that vacation feeling…… Especially if you realise the run-up was kind of crazy.
Pre vacation hurdles
This year I was unemployed for a couple of months. Heading towards the summer I was still not sure if and when I would be working again. Everything maintained unclear and I got uncertain and frustrated. Should I use my savings and go on a holiday no-matter-what? What to do if a job-opportunity required me to be available the entire summer? I really looked forward to spending some vacation time with my blended family, as we don’t have that many opportunities together. And what if I still had no perspective on an employment and I spent too much of my savings on a holiday? Altogether I didn’t feel comfortable spending money upfront on a holiday. So last-minute-holiday was the idea. However last minute became so last minute we ended up staying in the Netherlands, visiting the region ‘Sallandse Heuvelrug and one of the Wadden Islands (Ameland).
As logical as the previous all sounds I sometimes felt really bad and full of stress. I felt disappointment, failure and even a low self-esteem. My mind played many tricks with me leaving me with a feeling that I wasn’t able to provide sufficient for my daughters. I could even feel the sorrow of dragging my blended family into my lack of stability. And the remark from my daughter this would be our third summer vacation in the Netherlands made me feel like a looser. The (mental) support, patience and stability shown by Matthias was of big importance. He stayed calm and pragmatical, just wanting to spent a few weeks together. He was my rock. However that was all during the run up to our holiday. Once my new job started and I knew for sure I could be missed for two weeks, things started to fall into place.
Summer vacation 2017 – signs of inspiration
This year’s summer inspired me a lot. Maybe due to the run up to this holiday everything was a little bit different. But these four unforeseen insights became signs of inspiration and change.
1. No or less electronic devices
Because I just started my new job, I hadn’t synchronized my iPhone yet with my office calendar nor email. For the first time in a decade I was completely unconnected with my work. Prior to vacation I already stopped checking the news, being out of my circle of influence, but making me anxious. With my children in my proximity and no need to check on work-related messages I left my iPhone more often in my bedroom. I didn’t feel the urge to check nor post on social media. And although I had in mind to blog during the holiday, not once did I pull my laptop out of its sleeve. So I hardly used my iPhone, iPad and iMac. Back to work I still haven’t synced my iPhone. Only in occasions I need to know fast where my next meeting is, I regret it for a second or two.
As a child I used to skip my breakfast, although my mom urged me to eat. Most of the time my sister ate my sandwich or it ended up behind the closet. I’m over forty now and my morning routine consists of a glass of water with baking soda. I might take some supplements and before heading off to work I drink a cup of tea. That’s it. During the vacation I joined the family breakfast meals and after a few days already I felt that I ate too much. Instead of having energy to participate I just wanted to lie down. I could feel my body needing its energy for my digestion. After a few days I noticed being cranky. Once I skipped some breakfast’s my energy returned. It was an eye-opener because I wasn’t eating unhealthy foods, but it was just too much for me to digest.
3. Toxins in common personal care products
What you put on your body is just as important as what you put in your body.
This quote resonates with me. I am a firm believer of the self healing power of the body and what enters our body might harm this ‘inner ecology’. But to be honest my focus has most of the time been on what I put in my body. Food and (alcoholic) drinks, don’t worry I have an opinion about it. Over the counter and/or prescription drugs is something I refrain from as much as possible. Regarding supplements I still have some doubts whether the benefits outweigh the additional strain on my liver.
Common personal care products?
I hardly use make-up. Foundations, powders, concealers, eyeshadow, lipstick. I don’t even no what to do with it. Of course I tried these products as a teenager, but I got a rash on my face and I felt I looked like a clown. I certainly did not look like those models I tried to become. So at young age I gave up on make up. Mascara and a lipgloss are now the only two items you will find in my bag. I do use deodorant and/or perfume, but do spray it on my clothes instead of my skin. But I have a body lotion addiction, I feel my skin is screaming for a moisturising, smoothing and softening cream. I have an allergic reaction to almost all lotions or creams, but I found a hand care product called Atrix, which doesn’t give me any rashes. So for years now I use it on my face, on my legs, on my belly and my hands. It is an addiction, as soon as my hands feel dry I put another layer on my skin. You’ll find these Atrix tubes in almost every cabinet, drawer and bag and even in my car. I just cannot run out of tubes. During the holiday I read a book on hormonal imbalances due to food and toxins in personal care products. And I could no longer turn my back on it, so I decided to stop cold turkey with my Atrix :-). And silly as it might sound; today, three weeks later, it is still hard.
4. Working with or without pressure
As a child I found a ‘turbo boost’-button within myself. If necessary I could put myself under ‘artificial strain’ and by doing so become highly effective. I even bragged about it to my sister and tried to teach her this trick. I used it more often and actually made it my living. As interim change and/or programme manager it is my job to work under high pressure. To remain calm when everyone else is anxious. Reading the book ‘Stop the rush‘ by Leen Steyaert made me again aware I was running on adrenaline, by activating the flight or fight response. As a child I had found the button to push for adrenaline-release, as adult I am hardly aware anymore of my use of this ‘turbo boost’. Let alone how to undo this adrenaline-release and return to my natural state of being.
I never guessed these small insights would become a source of inspiration for change. Today I practice on awareness; am I working with of without my turbo boost activated? And more interesting: non-adrenaline days feel most of the time like unproductive-days. Clearly my starting point for holding on to the rush, as an addictive habit. Every morning I think I feel my skin screaming for a moisturising cream. Again my mind is playing tricks with me. I’m addicted to that feeling of sensation, rubbing the cream on and into my skin. Probably the same like a smoker, who doesn’t know what to do with his hand anymore.
Becoming more aware of my addictive behaviour is hard, challenging and fun at the same time. Feeling my mind’s resistance to change and the stories it feeds me to stick to my routines are sometimes dead serious and hilarious at the same time. Luckily I have a partner who is willing to hear my ‘withdrawal symptoms’, because that makes it easier not to fall for the intrigues my mind is playing with me. So Summer 2017 did bring me a lot. How was your holiday? Love to hear your stories..
PS Want to share this spectacular sunset picture taken during the holiday