We got invited to spend a couple days at a beach house with my brother-in-law’s family. Of course I wanted to go, how fun!
It. was. ex.haus.ting.
I’ve decided that while spending time with relatives is valuable to me, it is not a vacation. I am one those people that really likes to do things at my own pace. Trying to match up to someone else’s timetable can be annoying, stressful, or just plain exhausting. And sharing a house with adults who stay up late and children who get up early, meant that I did not get nearly enough sleep because I need about ten hours to feel good (my body is trying to heal, after all).
I’ve learned that trying to pack everything up by myself is much more difficult without my husband’s help (he was on a work trip). That trying to bring “healthy” treats requires advanced planning (because gluten-free, low-sugar, non-refined flour/sugar treats can only be homemade, apparently). That getting enough sleep the night before is extremely important.
A real vacation–one that is restful, therapeutic, and health-promoting–means time for naps, taking things at a slow place, and consuming nourishing food.
Vacation does not equal junk food–at least not to me. Apparently my relative’s idea of taking it easy is to not cook real meals and to have plenty of junk food on hand. Despite my efforts to bring nourishing food with us, I was still partially undermined by the packs chocolate Costco muffins and bags M&Ms staring at me, and my boy was tempted by not only the sweets, but chips and hot dog buns. That was probably my fault for not packing enough carb foods. I’m all for having a few treats (that’s why I baked ‘primal’ cookies for the trip), and brought some dark chocolate bars, but if the vacation is going to have much therapeutic merit, it needs to nourish the body.
I need to learn to stand up for our “special diet.” Since neither my son nor I are “doctor-diagnosed” with food sensitivities, I worry that people will think I’m neurotic or difficult if I claim we can’t eat this or that. I worry that I’ll come off as a food snob. But I have to remember that most people recognize that people have food allergies and many others recognize food sensitivities. My sister-in-law gives her baby soy formula because she seems to react poorly to dairy. That should have been a clue to me that she would have understood. But I didn’t talk to them beforehand, so it made it very difficult to turn down the food they offered us. I suppose I need to practice saying, “Gluten upsets my digestion and upsets my son’s emotional state.” Or even something as simple as, “We have food sensitivities so will need to eat our own food.” At least it sounds a lot better than saying, “Sorry, we only eat real food.” Talk about sounding snobbish.
I also need to remember that it’s okay to sleep on the floor. The first night I got kicked and rolled upon all night long. I felt like a zombie. Sleeping on the floor would have been much more restful.
It’s okay not to take extra effort to go see something. My in-laws told me there were tide pools down the beach a ways. Not really feeling up to it, but thinking it might be worth the effort, we trudged along the beach. Little boy was so tired I had to carry him. Then on the way back my knee went out and really hurt. Also, walking on dry sand is a workout, especially if you aren’t used to it. My son really just wanted to dig in the sand–we didn’t need to go far at all to do that!
Don’t count on being able to sleep in, especially if with another family. We like to sleep late, apparently my little nieces don’t. I should have gotten us to bed earlier.
My body was clearly struggling through this trip. I was getting sores in my mouth, and was very tired. I succumbed to eating junk food. I didn’t take all of my supplements. I needed several hours more sleep than I got. My period started early. Almost as soon as we were safely home, I started flipping out over all the things that were suddenly “wrong”–ants in the kitchen, not being able to get my key from my neighbor right away, my cat whining at me, etc. When my husband returned a couple hours later from his work trip, I snapped at him and walked away. The next two days I stayed in bed until almost noon. It’s the end of my second day back, and I still don’t feel quite recovered. I’m a little shocked at the toll this trip took on my body.
I need a real vacation. Anyone out there have ideas for eating well on trips or when others are trying to feed you? On how to take things slow when others want to go go go? Ideas for a truly relaxing/nourishing vacation (that includes a three-year-old)? We’re going to probably try again in a couple weeks, just the three of us.