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Downtime on Vacation

The Importance of Downtime on Vacation

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Ten years ago, we went nonstop on our vacations. If we were at Disney World, we were at a park from opening to close. It was go, go, go, from the moment we woke up to the minute we fell exhausted into bed. You get a lot done when you vacation like that, but it’s not very relaxing.

Our Defining Moment

I remember distinctly the night we were at a Disney park in Orlando, the kids were tired, the adults were tired, and work was starting to look good because at least I knew I could sit down. When you get to that point, that’s when you know you have to reassess your vacation strategy.

We were staying in the park that whole day because we had dining reservations and didn’t want to take the time to go all the way back to our hotel, only to have to turn right back around to eat. “This is stupid,” we finally agreed. “Why are we running ourselves into the ground like this?”

Rethinking our Vacation Strategy

We left the park, went back to our hotel, ordered a pizza, and ate it by the pool. Afterward, we played a few hands of the Pirates of the Caribbean Uno game we’d picked up a few days earlier. The kids had a ball, the adults were relaxed, and everyone was in much better mood.

I don’t remember what dining reservation we gave up, but I remember a friend who had traveled with us calling to say they were having special fireworks that night and did we want to meet in park to watch? I looked at the kids, splashing in the water and said, “No thanks, we’re good.” And we were.

Flash forward a few years. The kids are older and we’re on a cruise. To be honest, what stands out the most to me isn’t the ship, the ports of call, or even the food. Instead, I remember playing all sorts of card games while sitting on an outside deck with the wind in our hair.

When a Condition Causes You to Take it a Little Slower

Then came the day I was diagnosed with Early Onset Parkinson’s. One of the big issues facing the newly diagnosed is getting the medication levels just right. I won’t lie, it took some time, and one of the side effects that impacted me the most was the fatigue.

But we love to travel and I didn’t want to give that up. Again, we just needed a revised strategy. The next time we went to Disney, we split the day up. We’d go to park in the morning, eat lunch, and then we’d head back to our hotel. I’d nap and my husband would take the kids swimming or to the playground. Then if we wanted, we’d go back to one of the parks.

Vacations can be funny. We go to get away from it all or to rest and recharge, but we often feel as if we’re not doing it right if our schedule isn’t completely filled. Or we fear we’ll miss something if we’re not in the middle of it all. The simple fact is, you can’t do it all, and yes, you’re going to miss something. But don’t lose sight of what’s important: you’re on vacation with your family. Everything else is just the icing on the cake.

Favorite Downtime Activities:

  1. Go for a swim.
  2. Play cards or a board game.
  3. Read a book. Read a book out loud. Act out a book.
  4. Play charades.
  5. Go for a walk. Explore.
  6. Nap. (Okay, you’ll probably have a hard time talking your kids into this one.)
  7. Go get ice cream or hit a bakery.
  8. Sit outside and people watch.
  9. Go on a scavenger hunt.
  10. Color or draw.

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Christy lives in North Carolina where she worked in the Pharmaceutical Industry for fifteen years before Early Onset Parkinson’s brought her career to a halt. Undeterred, she…

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