Post Written by Kailey MarcAurele
Sometimes, you just need a break. This past week, I went to the Outer Banks on a family vacation. This vacation was a great way for me to get away from work and all of my responsibilities at home.
The Stress of Being On Vacation
I’d love to say I loved every second of vacation, but that would be a lie. Traveling does come with a lot of stress. It’s hard to be out of routine and when you’re traveling with others, there are a lot of compromises. You might have one thing in mind for what you want to do, but the people you’re with might have other things in mind.
Even with me bringing my best friend that I’ve been friends with since childhood, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. On vacation, you can’t just hide away and isolate like you can at home so if there is some kind of disagreement, you have to deal with it right then.
The other thing about vacations is you have to spend money. While there are plenty of things to do, you have to feed yourself for a week and that means a lot of eating out. But, I was lucky to find so many gluten-free and dairy-free options. While I was definitely stressed out about how much money I was spending, I really did enjoy getting to experience a lot of awesome food that I could eat even with my restrictions! My friend did an AWESOME job of finding restaurants that had plenty of options for me.
Finding food I could eat was something I was really stressed out about prior to vacation. Going out for food is one of the best parts about going on vacation, but when you’re gluten-free and dairy-free, there’s always the stress of having to watch everyone enjoy regular food while you struggle to find something you can eat.
While I was so excited to be on vacation, I missed home only a few days in. I have three cats at home and honestly I just missed my routine at home. Working from home, I spend a lot of time by myself while my boyfriend is at work all day. I missed the comfort of being alone at home where I could just do my own thing. But really, I also just missed my cats.
I actually ended up coming home early from vacation. I was just really homesick. I drove my car the whole 10+ hours down so thankfully I was able to be in control of when I left. For me, I hate feeling trapped or stuck anywhere so I like to always drive myself places, and I was willing to make the drive myself just so I could go places when I wanted and leave places when I wanted on vacation.
There’s no worse feeling than carpooling with someone and being uncomfortable and wanting to leave, but not being able to. I’ve been in that position too many times to allow it to happen anymore. While I was anxious to drive my car for almost half a day down and back with me as the only driver, it was worth it to me to be able to drive myself around and be able to go when I wanted.
While vacations are supposed to be awesome, it’s totally normal and okay to be stressed out! Don’t feel like there’s something wrong with you, there’s definitely a lot of things that can trigger stress on a vacation.
Vacations Aren’t All Stress!
The stress of traveling is almost always worth it! While I was stressed out quite a bit on vacation, I really did have a good time while I was in the Outer Banks. This trip was my third time going there, so I already had an idea of everything I wanted to do.
One of my favorite things about the Outer Banks are the lighthouses! I don’t know what it is about them, but I love seeing them, learning the history, and climbing them! I was bummed that Cape Hatteras Lighthouse was closed for climbing because it is the TALLEST brick lighthouse in the United States. But, I was still happy to be able to see it!
I also spent a lot of time enjoying the scenery and wildlife! Anyone that knows me knows how much I love being by the water. So naturally, I loved being on islands for a week! I could see the ocean from the rooftop deck of the rental we were in and I could walk to the beach. I was able to enjoy a sunset and morning and evening walks on the beach.
On top of enjoying everything the Outer Banks has to offer, I also had a good time with my best friend and my family. If you’ve ever been to the Outer Banks, you’ll know that there is a lot of driving to go and do stuff (the Outer Banks is HUGE and made up of multiple islands). I spent a lot of time blasting music while driving and scream singing music with my best friend. I spent time with my parents and my siblings and we shared a lot of laughs and made awesome memories.
Vacations can be tough, especially when you deal with anxiety and depression. Try and make the most out of vacation. While they’re a lot of work, you can still have a good time and make some great memories.
Tips for Keeping Your Mental Health Well On Vacation
If you’re feeling stressed about traveling, here are some tips that can help keep your mental health well while you’re away:
- Find time to relax
- Bring your medication
- Bring a good book
- Have headphones to listen to your favorite music
- Stay hydrated
- Practice mindfulness
- Bring reminders of home with you for when you get homesick
- Set realistic expectations
- Stay present and appreciate the moment you’re in
- Don’t be afraid to say no – don’t do things you feel uncomfortable doing