Tuesday 10 May 2016

Tips For Chronically Holidaying

I'm going on holiday on Friday, first to London to catch up with everyone there, and then flying to Stockholm to visit a friend who's moved out there so I felt a post on holidaying when chronically ill was timely.

I used to work in PR, which means trips come with itineraries. I'm also a high-achieving stresshead, which means the itineraries are very ambitious. Because I want to do and see EVERYTHING OTHERWISE WHAT IS THE POINT OF GOING AWAY?! So it's been difficult for me to accept my limitations when it comes to trips and if it's difficult for you too I hope these tips help.  

on my first chronic holiday in Athens

Tips For Chronically Holidaying 

Go Away With Supportive People
My boyfriend is incredibly supportive and also very laid back, so when I say "I need a little sit down" for the 11th time since we walked into this museum, we have a little sit down. If we need to revise the itinerary because I had a bad night he's the one going "it's fine, we can do that tomorrow" while I stress that I've ruined the whole holiday. You definitely want to go away with someone who isn't going to push you further than you're able, will maybe carry your suitcase up stairs/put it in the luggage compartments for you and who understands if you need a few lie-ins!

Make an A List and a B List
Make a list of the things you HAVE to do/see. Then make a list of things you'd LIKE to do/see but can live with yourself if you miss, and try (geography allowing) to put some of both in each day. Then if you do need to take something out, it doesn't have to be something you're super excited about. 

Pace Yourself and Take Breaks 
Yes you might be able to do the Louvre, a stroll around the Jardin des Tuileries, L'Orangerie, the Musee D'Orsay, the essential macaron run to LadurĂ©e, dinner, drinks, AND have a night-time walk around Paris on the first day, but that does not mean you should because on the second day you will do nothing. Because you killed yourself the day before. And you probably won't be able to do much on the third day either. Be realistic about what you can achieve, don't push yourself and take regular breaks. Sit down and have a proper lunch; mid afternoon cake; cups of tea in museum cafes. You're on holiday, after all. Definitely also apply this to your holiday prep: write a list & spread your tasks out over the week before you go! 

Stay With Someone
Visiting friends in other places is lovely because not only do you get to see someone you may not have seen in a while, the trip will be much less stressful! No accommodation to arrange, no worries about navigating your way around and hopefully a built-in tour guide who knows all the best restaurants and shops. Perfect for spoonies. I am about to visit a friend of mine in Stockholm and I'm super excited about it and have also been less stressed about this trip than usual because of this. 

Time To Recover
I always use an extra annual leave day as a recovery day, if there won't be a weekend between when I get back and when I go back to work post-holiday. You could view this as a waste of good holiday days, but I'm self-aware enough to know I won't follow the tips above as much as I should, and I'll need a recovery day before I go back to work. And if that's not an annual leave day it'll end up being a sick day. And that doesn't seem fair on my employer. 

Bonus tip:

It's Okay to Go and Lie on the Beach
I'm a city break person, but beach holidays are perfect for a proper break. What could be more relaxing than a week in the sun (or shade) reading, drinking mojitos and having the odd dip in the sea? Don't feel bad about your holiday being a rejuvenation session somewhere warm rather than a jam-packed cultural experience; it's  a totally well-earned luxury. 

Now lets see how well I follow my own advice. 

Do you have any tips for holidaying with a chronic illness, or in general? 


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