Vacation Well With Your Spouse Despite Mental Illness
It is entirely possible to vacation well with your spouse despite mental illness (Marriage and Mental Illness: Take a Vacation Alone Together). But, one of the hardest things about having a mental illness is that you can’t take a vacation from your mental illness. Even if you want to escape your life and just enjoy your partner on vacation, you still have to make allowances for your mental illness. It might feel like more work than it's worth, but making space for your mental illness on vacation will enable you to have a better vacation.
Treating Mental Illness and Enjoying a Vacation With Your Spouse
If you want to have a great vacation together, be realistic about what the mentally ill spouse can do on vacation. Neither of you can expect that the mentally ill spouse can suddenly drink alcohol by the pool all day long without having an impact on mood. Neither can you expect to ignore your wellness routine, including diet restrictions, sleep schedules, exercise, and medication. Bring all of your medications and supplements, including emergency doses, if necessary (Bipolar and Vacation Planning). When you change time zones, cultures, and even mattresses, the last thing a brain with mental illness needs is a change in its mental health routine.
5 Tips to Vacation Well with Your Spouse Despite Mental Illness
- Time your vacation well. If you are in the middle of a busy time of year with work or family schedules, wait until things slow down to go on vacation. My husband and I waited to go on vacation until the kids were done with sports for the spring season and until they were out of school. That way, the kids' schedules were free and it was easier to find babysitters (Moms With Mental Illness: Is Summer Making Your Kids Crazy?). We also tied up as many loose ends at work as we could before we left on vacation, just to feel like we could set our responsibilities aside for a few days and relax.
- Plan your vacation around the mentally ill spouse’s most functional week or month. If the mentally ill spouse tends to be depressed in the winter months, maybe that’s not the best time to go on vacation as a couple. Also, women with mental illness often have more difficult times of the month due to hormonal changes. Don’t go on vacation together during that time. Plan your vacation for the mentally ill spouses’ most functional, emotionally available, and mentally stable time so that you have the best chance to enjoy each other.
- Allow time and space for transitions. There are so many transitions when a couple goes on vacation. They will transition from work, transition the kids to a sitter, transition from worrying that they left something unlocked or plugged in at home to transitioning into a vacation mindset. That is a lot for a normal person, let alone for someone with a mental illness. Expect for each of these transitions to take a toll on the mentally ill spouse, and allow time and space for he or she to absorb them. Remember, too, that there will need to be time allotted for a transition time once the vacation is over (Bipolar Vacation Recuperation).
- Don’t try to do too much. If you truly want to spend time together and get along while on vacation, don’t overload the mentally ill spouse with constant activities. Instead, try to space activities out with rest time in between so that you don't overstimulate or burn out the mentally ill partner (When Bipolar Ruins Your Vacation).
- Make space for alone time. Constant togetherness can be amazing, but it can also leave both partners feeling overwhelmed. Give each other time to take a walk, go get a massage, or just read a book for an hour alone time.
Taking a vacation together as a couple can be an amazing experience, even if one spouse has a mental illness. Even though you can’t leave the mental illness behind, you can make room for it on your vacation so that it doesn’t take over.
Arthur, T. (2016, August 24). Vacation Well With Your Spouse Despite Mental Illness, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, March 8 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/mentalillnessinthefamily/2016/08/vacation-well-with-your-spouse-despite-mental-illness