Anxiety On Holiday
We've just got back from a wonderful holiday on the Isle of Wight celebrating our 20th Wedding Anniversary & although I had an amazing time with my family I felt moments of anxiety & racing thoughts. I haven't experienced feelings like this for years so it was very unsettling. I'd recognised I was 'out of the zone' & decided to stop to journal out my thoughts. Here's what I discovered......
I'd booked the holiday in March 2021 & had been daydreaming about the accommodation ever since. I'd been looking at Google images trying to work out the exact location of the lodge, imagining what we would do each day & making a Pinterest board of beautiful location photos to get me in the vibe. Obviously due to Covid-19 there was always a risk that we might not be able to go so it was regularly in the back of my mind that it could be cancelled at any point.
As the holiday dates approached & we started packing I was getting really excited. I actually let myself feel worthy of a holiday as it had been a tough few years & we'd all worked hard through lockdown & homeschooling. I set my 'out of office' email response for the first time in 20 years & began to switch off.
The ferry journey over to the island was great fun & really built the anticipation of the experience. It was amazing to see my childhood village of Netley from the water & to reminisce about times gone by having holidays with my Grandparents in & around Hampshire.
Once we arrived in Cowes we were all really excited to get to our accommodation at Woodside Bay Lodge Retreat. It was a wonderful feeling walking in to the lodge for the first time having daydreamed about it so much. I'll never forget the gorgeous smell of the wood & the feel of the warmth as we entered. It totally lived up to expectations which was so wonderful as I often doubt that things will be as good as the photos.
We started to unpack & settle into the slower pace of life. The first evening we took a short walk to the beach & it was amazing to feel the sea breeze on our skin & watch the children explore the rock pools. It finally felt like we were on holiday & it was awesome.
I'm not very good when i'm out of routine so I got up early on the first morning to plan what we could do for the following week. I made suggestions that we all agreed on & it was fab to look forward to all the adventures we were going to have.
As the days & nights went by I began to go down hill a bit. I wasn't sleeping very well (although the beds were really comfy) so I think that contributed a lot to my anxiety. Knowing the days were passing was making me anxious too. I felt there had been such a big build up to the holiday & so much uncertainty around being able to travel that I was putting pressure on myself to make the most of every moment. I was using all my mindful tools to stay as present as possible so when the negative thoughts came I would try to accept them & let them go.
Having worked in the wellbeing industry for the last 5 years I know that these periods of anxiety are not to be ignored as they are often opportunities for personal growth & life adjustments so I started to observe my thoughts & question them.
It wasn't until the last day that I realised what my main issue was. I'd had another bad nights sleep so I got up early & began thinking through what was triggering my anxiety - then it hit me like a lightening bolt!
The reason I wasn't able to settle was because I wasn't working towards my purpose. I hadn't realised until that point what an impact my job, my role & my purpose have on my wellbeing & being away from work was causing my anxiety. I realised that my purpose & my job keep me focused, motivated, driven & committed. I can cope with anything if i'm living life on purpose & moving towards my goals. By being on holiday I'd achieved my goal & my head was empty of daydreaming about it. I'd also switched off from work so I was filling my mind up with negative thoughts.
Anyone who knows me well will say that I'm a dreamer. I'm always looking to the future & thinking up new plans for our home, business & various projects that I have on the go. It inspires to do more, be more, learn more & push forward. Working in mental health & life coaching means there are always people to help, courses to record & sessions to write so there's plenty of creative activity involved which distracts me from negative thinking. Without this motivation & purpose I felt lost, confused & anxious.
It was once I came to this realisation that I assessed how I could use my new found discoveries to help others. After a quick sketch on a napkin I planned everything out & decided to start my blog again & record a lifestyle podcast around self-help & living life on purpose.
In hindsight i'm so pleased that I faced anxiety again & was able to manage it. It was horrible, unsettling & consuming but it has given me the impetus I need to get my creative juices flowing again. I can't wait to share my ongoing thoughts with you & hope you'll enjoy reading & listening to my ramblings.
Wishing you lots of love from