The difference between the holiday we hope for, and the one we experience, is the degree to which the reality meets not just our expectation, but that of all those on holiday with us. It’s a tall order! Is balance even possible?
The holiday season forces people together who are used to flowing as a unit within the relative spacial comfort of routine, into another space and time, where we’re all supposed to just ‘enjoy ourselves’ and get along. Depending on the number of times the unit attempts this feat, there is the opportunity to evolve from an awkward, slightly disjointed, even fractured collection of bodies, into one where the energy dynamics flow and a truly fantastic time is experienced.
You will know from your own holidays, the more people there are, the more needs, preferences, and desires there are to consider (or not).
Some won’t relax the whole time.
Some, not until at least a few days in or just before it’s time to leave.
Others relax too much leaving others feeling they are copping a bad deal slightly, picking up the slack because “someone has to do it”.
Some are fun, fun, fun all the way, are deeply energised by ALL the activities, while others cannot understand why and just want to ‘chill’ all day.
The supposed pinnacles of our year come with an unwritten small print of enjoyment and relaxation, but the truth is it can be more upsetting to our balance than we’d ever predict.
If you’ve ever returned from a holiday feeling you need another to recover from it, then yes it’s completely normal, and here are maybe a few considerations for next time.
• The best and worst in people tend to come out on holiday. Things that don’t surface normally, will most likely surface when you’re in the company of others. I won’t go into the why just now, but knowing that this can happen, means we can make allowances for it in others and may ourselves, need to be the recipient of a little grace rope.
• The wellbeing of a unit is largely determined by that of whoever is leading it. If this is usually you, then ensuring you have a way of connecting to what centers you is important. If you see to it that everyone else has a great time but return home shattered and unfulfilled, it is likely to result in feelings of resentment.
• Realistic expectations go a long way. If you see a holiday as a time to relax and you have small children, your ‘holiday’ (oh I’m sorry it’s cruel putting it in inverted comma’s) is going to revolve around them – it just is! You’ll likely be doing everything and more that you do at home – just in a different setting. It looks like that for a few years but it doesn’t last forever!
Alternatively, if you see it as a time for fun, laughter and being with others, then you’ll likely be less bothered about your ‘RnR’, knowing you’ll make time for it at other points in the year.
• We all need a degree of routine. It makes us feel certain and therefore in control. People who are used to roles and responsibilities at home can feel completely disoriented without them on a holiday, adults and kids alike. The ideal of kicking back and taking life as it comes usually benefits from a little structure too.
• Know when to quit, or more gently, when someone needs time-out. Too much of anything becomes too much! When you are aware of your own energy dynamics, you can help others with theirs. It’s knowing when a child needs some time by them self or a partner needs to be released to go off and have a few hours or half a day to them self – everyone benefits!
Holiday identities can require a bit of working at and one-off trips perhaps matter less, but where you foresee spending multiple holidays with people, it’s worth the effort, for everyone’s sake!