In anticipating some vacation this coming week, I realize how difficult it is these days for me to relax in any sustained way. Contemplating even four days of vacation makes me really anxious. For me, often relaxation leads to flashbacks. As my body relaxes, it wants to release more. I have things I do daily to try to proactively allow space for that to happen. But, even with all that, I still feel really worried and that translates into stress for my family as well. Have others experienced this and, if so, how have you handled it?


I experienced this years ago and worked at being on vacation such that I and my family now routinely experience reduced stress -- and actual enjoyment time on vacation. For me, compartmentalizing my time on vacation proved to be the answer. I've kept a journal for many, many years, and writing in it comes naturally to me. So, on vacation, I give myself an hour each morning to "pour" my thoughts and anxieties onto the blank pages of my journal. Sometimes I "write my way through" something specific; often I just list the various thoughts that are darting around my head. Seeing them on paper is helpful to me (I use codes or initials if something's especially private), as they feel more contained to me now that they're no longer swirling in my head. When my hour of writing is up, I close my journal and tell myself: "No more until tomorrow." Then, as the day goes on and any stress darts/worries start to fly about, I think: "Oh great, I'll write about you/deal with you tomorrow!" Maybe this would work for you?
I'm on holiday right now, and it is hard to have so much free time. I'm used to working up to 6 days a week and being busy and "productive", and time off doesn't feel productive, and I feel less than. I think JeremyG has a good idea with the planned journalling, working that routine into your day, and using that to release anything that comes up. I may try that for the remainder of my time off as well.
I experience a lot of anxiety whether I'm working or on vacation. Sometimes we get real busy on vacation and it goes away but it always comes back. Sucks being anxious on vacation.


Actually I just returned from a family vacation and experienced a fair amount of stress. The fact that I was feeling that way during what was supposed to a relaxing time only compounded the anxiety. Thanks for starting this thread.