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Changing How I Plan for Vacations

For most people vacations provide an escape from their everyday lives. It’s a time when they don’t have to follow a rigid schedule or stress over deadlines. It’s a time for relaxation, fun, or trying new things. Unfortunately, vacations can be quite stressful for the chronically ill.

Shattered dreams

I have dreaded vacations for most of my chronic life. The pre-trip stress of making sure my family had enough clothing packed; finding someone to care for our pets and watch the house, putting the mail on hold, and more would exhaust me before we left. Traveling increased my pain. Unlike the average person, vacations weren’t relaxing for me. While on vacation I would physically push past my limits to keep up with the rest of my party and do way more than I would have done at home. This typically results in my being bedridden for weeks upon arriving home. Sometimes my body would crash the moment I arrived at my destination or half way through our trip. While my family and friends were off having fun, I would cry in the hotel room.

Finding a better way

I fell back in love with traveling after I began planning differently. While I used to go to great lengths to pick a great destination with awesome activities and sights, I failed to plan with my chronic illnesses in mind. Two years ago, I accepted that I couldn’t run away from my everyday life. No matter where I went my conditions would be there too, so I started to address my diseases as extra passengers. When picking a destination and planning our agenda, I take all of my symptoms and limitations into consideration. Even though I hope and pray that I won’t experience a severe flare while away, I plan and prepare for the worst by bringing along everything I possibly can that comforts and helps me when I am at home. I let go of unrealistic expectations. It is impossible for me to think I will be able to be on the go for five days in a row when I am not able to do that at home. I no longer allow post vacation pain to get me down. By expecting to hurt more than usual afterward, I am able to relax and focus on the memories made while giving my body the time it needs to recover. As a family, we have improved finding a balance that works for all of us. They slow their normal pace down and I increase mine. Activities aren’t canceled just because my body decides it needs a day in bed. Being left behind doesn’t devastate me like it did before, now I rest and look forward to hearing about the adventures my family had that day. By changing my attitude and including my illnesses while planning and preparing, my family and I have had some of the best vacations of our lives.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.