Ahh….the most beautiful word in the English language…vacation. For professionals who deal day in and day out with the stress of clients and billing and assessments and our own personal stress, vacations are those moments when we can just take a moment and breathe. Some of you may have noticed that I myself have been a bit sluggish in my blogs as well as the timing of them. I’d blame it on comps and clients and what not, but honestly it all boils down to I just was tired and worn out.
Enter an 18 hour drive to my parents’ house with 2 dogs and a cat and my sister. For 10 days a year, I return to the great state of Louisiana and just relax. I laugh with my parents, reconnect with college friends, and visit New Orleans for some really great food. OH and I indulge in my mom’s tacos…a must have on any vacation home. In other words, I reconnect with what makes me who I am and I recharge. I joke with my mom that there is something about their house that makes me sleepy, but in truth it is that for 10 days I don’t have to worry about anyone other than those I love most in the world. I get to be goofy Michelle and not a counselor, not a student, or a teacher, or an employee, or whatever other hat I tend to wear.
As I write this blog though I am asking myself, why am I only doing this for 10 days a year? What is going on the other 355? And then it hits me, even when I have down time back in my everyday world, there are things staring me down with deadlines and expectations. Here in Louisiana, I enter into a bubble for 10 days and forget the rest of the world really exists. Well not really, I still have my phone and facebook and email so I’m connected to “real life” back home, but I move a little slower and stress a lot less.
Why do humans give themselves permission on vacation to actually relax and just breathe? Why don’t we do it more often? I work with a population that doesn’t get vacations, they don’t get time out for themselves and I wonder how do they recharge sometimes. Does it have to take such drastic measures for us as a society to feel relaxed? How do I translate this feeling of release back home with me and better yet how do I translate it for my clients?
Sure I can give them breathing exercises and meditations to listen to and I can tell them to take bubble baths or blow some bubbles, but I think sometimes we as humans need to escape our every day. So readers, what are some suggestions you give your clients for escape? How do we help our clients get the mental vacations they need?
Michelle E. Wade is a counselor and doctoral student focusing on in-home therapy and technology in counseling.