It is that time of the season. Many individual and families are putting their vacation plans together. For some, a vacation consists of running around at full speed with major anxiety and stress. Others may prefer to try a new activity, such as zip-line or scuba diving. Many with bipolar disorder and myself included, prefer the relaxed, slower than normal pace (warm climates help in the slowing down process). Doing the vacation thing with the least amount of anxiety or stress as possible does take a little advance planning.
The changes in your normal daily routine can make vacations very difficult for those with depression or bipolar disorder. Add to the lack of daily routines, perhaps some jet lag and time zone changes on one’s body clock can be exhausting. Make a special effort to set up a vacation daily schedule before you leave. Doing specific things at certain times of the day. Such as eating breakfast or exercising at the same time you do at home, if you exercise at 9 am on the east coast do it at 9 am on the west coast. Pay attention to how easy your transportation will be. Avoid long stretches of driving or flying “red-eye” flights. Sidestep any three-hop flights, no matter how much money they save. The added anxiety about making flights and even the aircraft landings can add major stress.
My wife and I enjoy vacationing in New Mexico. We fly in and out of Albuquerque, stay in the same hotel our first and last day of each trip. The hotel is clean, priced right has a pool and hot tub. There is a great restaurant within walking distance. All of this has the benefit of a routine, with a loose schedule of where will be on two certain days. Plan or make reservations for one or two special activities for the week. Do your research on what your destination has to offer. Enjoy a few things that pique your interest on particular day, as weather and availability permits. Schedules are wonderful but they can add stress trying to meet the time constraints, these can be vacation killers. The familiarity of the location helps relieve anxieties of travel.