I had anticipated our beach vacation for months. I had made multiple lists of things to bring. I knew what the weather was doing in Orange Beach, Alabama.

It was my husband and my’s 25th wedding anniversary. As a gift, our friends had rented a condo for us on the beach and given us $500 in spending cash. (I know. I have the best friends a person could ask for.)

This was the kind of vacation legends are written about.

The first two days were magical. Playing in the surf. Collecting shells. Eating delicious seafood.

But then I felt it at the back of my head. Anxiety.

The negative self-talk cranked back up and I felt trapped and restless and GAH! “I’m on vacation!” I yelled at the pessimistic voice in my head.

I wanted this time to be different. I really didn’t want to share my vacation with anxiety.

So I tuned into the self-talk to see how my brain was perceiving things.

I noticed that I was thinking that any moment not spent on the beach was “wasting time” whether that other thing made me feel relaxed or not. This is vacation. The land of “Do Whatever You Want” and if that’s sitting on my condo deck, or taking pictures, or watching tv, or taking a bath…well all of those things are just fine.

My brain was also chattering about the amount of time I was spending on my phone. Again, does it meet the “it’s relaxing and/or fun” test? Why yes it does. If it meets those requirements, it’s a go.

My brain thought, “what if people thinking you’re posting too many pictures?” Now this is a wacky one. Who gives a raggedy rip what other people think?

And finally, “this vacation will come to an end.” Yes, it will. But I’ll have a lot of great memories and shells, loads of shells. And I’ll take some of this relaxed, calmer Lauren with me and, hopefully, find myself in a better place than before I came.

So my recommendations for having fun despite your brain on vacation:

*Listen to the negative things you’re telling yourself and refute them.

*Vacation means “Do Whatever You Want”, so allow yourself to do just that.

*Recognize any mental discomfort you’re feeling and use self-care techniques to bring about a better mental state.

*To combat the “Vacation Over” Blues, plan something fun to do at home whether its going somewhere, seeing a movie, or taking part in your hobby.

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