Do You Need a Holiday After Your Holiday?

Do you always find yourself completely spent haven just returned from what was supposed to be a relaxing holiday?

Do you usually feel like it wasn’t enough, and wonder whether you should’ve stayed a bit longer, or done something differently to make the most out of it?

I am obviously asking because this has repeatedly happened to me, and I was never able to decode the pretty frustrating issue in order to resolve it. I have come home from long and short breaks feeling surprisingly fatigued, and in need for at least another week or so off, if I was to resume work as rejuvenated as expected.

MauritiusWhen I am tired I lie down on anything that resembles a bed to me 🙂

The worst case scenario is when on top of all the physical misery that I’d be undergoing, I’d return to a messy apartment, tons of unpaid bills, and hundreds of emails waiting to be checked. Then I’ll start unpacking, and a sizable heap of laundry that would take days to go through would form on our living room floor, once the laundry is sorted (kind of) our suitcases would be left wide open in the middle of the house staring us down to the point of depression for days before we have managed to empty them out.

Luckily my husband is actually the cooperating type. In fact, he normally takes care of ALL the logistical and financial aftermath of our vacations; however it’s only a matter of time before we’ve both ran out of steam…

If you haven’t experienced it before, then you must have been making all the right moves (or not enough moves) throughout your holiday, to avoid feeling trapped in your own tired body by the end of it.  In contrast, I’ve been wondering at what point do we mess it all up, until it was finally revealed to me in Mauritius.

MauritiusTrou aux Biches

No, it didn’t come to me in a dream, and I didn’t see it written in the clouds, although I easily could’ve, since I spent considerable time gazing at them over there, they were just too beautiful to ignore. Ok, now I am just letting my imagination run a little wild, it must be the fasting!!

Back on track…

The truth is; it was calculated and documented by my new toy, the Nike FuelBand that Angel bought me about a month before our trip.  I am so glad that I decided to take it with me, although I initially doubted that I’ll need it during our relaxing beach holiday.

I downloaded the day’s activity data to the corresponding app on my iPhone every night, and guess what? I was scoring a new record every day, the app kept telling me that this was my most active Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and so on….

Seriously? That was not how this holiday supposed to go! I was tired, beyond exhausted even when I got there, and now I was spending more energy than I could afford. I was supposed to limit my activity to eating, sleeping and spaing, nowhere in the plan turning me into Speedy Gonzales was mentioned.

I took a minute to reflect on the past few days’ proceedings, and that is when it suddenly hit me. We were bringing this up on ourselves and we didn’t even know it….

So what went wrong?

The rapid pace of our holiday was fueled by our excitement for seeing a new place and experiencing new things. We were having such a great time, trying out new water  sports, visiting the sites and embarking in yet another epic adventure, but in the midst of it all we never realized that we were having too much fun in paradise.

MauritiusTouring Aventure du Socre

Skydiving MauritiusMore about my awesome skydiving adventure in Mauritius soon…

MauritiusExploring Port Luis Central Market

MauritiusVisiting Jummah Masjid in Port Luis

MauritiusGiant Water Lilies in Pamplemousse Botanical Garden

MauritiusLe Cudan Waterfront in the capital

MauritiusMesmerized by the beauty of the southern Sugar cane fields, I decided that I want to be the Suger Queen…

MauritiusFinding out who ate the Dodo at the Natural History Museum in Port Luis

mauritiusDiscovering Mauritian street food; found the yummiest Dhal Puri ever out there…

Snapshot 1 (19-07-2013 12-59) (484x363)

Discovery Dive

Furthermore, I got up at 6am everyday by habit, Mauritius is in the same time zone as the UAE, hence I wasn’t jetlagged and the days didn’t get any longer or shorter for me. My brain was still operating on normal office hours, and although I was happy that I could still control my sleeping and waking times, I didn’t really have to maintain the same hectic rhythm. I should’ve stayed in bed and forced myself to rest, the island was still going to be there few hours later, right?

Mauritian Sega Dance

It didn’t help that our hotel had a nightly entertainment program that I always wanted to attend, which kept us up till late sometimes…

We went up the happy hill steadfastly, until enough was enough…

What to do about it?

Slowing down obviously redirected the course of our holiday at the end, I managed to squeeze in a couple of heavenly spa dates, but also here are some tips that I believe will help me and you avoid such a pitfall in the future:

Plan and prepare

Before leaving, keep whatever you think you are going to need when you come home ready. Make up the bed with clean sheets, and prepare your attire for the first day back at work. This way, you’ll be left with nothing to worry about but recovering from your homebound flight especially if it was long.

Give yourself a break

If you can, don’t leave on the day your holiday starts, and don’t come back the day it ends. I’m sure you could use a buffer to complete your preparations before your departure, even if you have already finished packing.

There is no point in arriving at your destination too tired, you will end up taking longer just to kick that vacation started. Similarly, use the extra time to recover and reboot after returning, and hopefully your holidays and reporting back in the office won’t get blurred in together.

Angel often comes down with a bad case of sinusitis after long flights, which forces him to call in sick after holidays, and that clearly never looks good! Without the extra day, the poor thing normally struggles and his symptoms take longer to heal.

Just relax, will you?  

I believe this was the message that my fuel band tried to send me, thank god I got the hint…

If the point of your holiday is to relax, then just do exactly that. Find the balance between sightseeing and getting the rest that you went there seeking, in which case you probably desperately need it.

If you are staying at a nice resort with a spa or a health center, use it. Book your treatments as soon as you get there, especially if the place is busy. Don’t wait until the end of your stay thinking to make it your grand finale, little doses of rest ingested throughout your break is the best way to maximize your gain.

Read it

Question to self: Wasn’t the master plan is to read that book when you packed it in your holiday suitcase?

A: Yes, of course

Another question to self: Then how come you brought it back untouched?

Answer: Good point!

Final, question to self: What have you learnt from this guilt induced bizarre conversation?

Answer: I have learnt to do myself a favor and sit down to read my holiday book the next time, not only to avoid having this ridiculous discussion with self again, but also because reading inspires and calms me down. otherwise, I’ll never have enough time to read a full book in a short stretch of time.

Disconnect

Put that smart device down and stay away from the Wi-Fi zone. You went away because you wanted to disconnect from it all, so why are you spending more time online than on holiday?

I know that some of us, especially travel bloggers, need to keep the communication channels with their followers open, but it is vitally important not to overdo it while trying to get some time for yourself. It can be time consuming and physically exhausting. I am no medical expert, but my body tells me about it all the time.

The best way to do this, I would say, is to put aside an hour or so each day to do what you have to do online, without having to miss your own holiday for the sake of updating others about it.

Take it from an Instagram addict, whose iPhone never departs her left hand, it will eat up into your time with your loved ones and family, so do it like you’d do it back at home.

Mauritius

Watch it go down

Sunsets are like music; as if orchestrated by a master conductor, the sun, the sky, the clouds, the horizon, and sometimes even the wind, come together like the notes of a well written piece of opera, unfolding in front of your very eyes, solely for your amusement.

When I am travelling, I like to watch the sun go down in special places, to celebrate the end of yet another wonderful day out in the world. It’s always beautiful, but most importantly, I never think of anything else when I am watching it, which relaxes me the most. It truly is a miracle.

I hope you’ll find some of this advice useful. Whatever you do, enjoy your holiday….

So tell me, what do you do to ensure that your energy levels are in check during holidays?

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