Every year on December 26, I tell myself that I’m going to give myself a break next year – you know, give the whole Christmas thing a miss and disappear to a remote island for a month instead. “There’s heaps of time to arrange that,” I think to myself. “I’ll sort it out in a few months.” Of course, it never happens, and next thing I know December has rolled around and I’m at my wits’ end once more.
Well, this year I’m discarding my supposed festive obligations to family and friends and booking myself in for a last-minute holiday. I could call it a present to myself, but it’s actually just basic stress management. Melbourne might not be the most jitters-inducing city in the world, but it’s no tranquil haven, either – especially at this time of year. I’m over the sleep deprivation, heart palpitations and general state of anxiety instilled by the endless hubbub of traffic, advertising and assorted social demands.
I mean, sure – there are probably some stress management techniques I could apply in my day-to-day life that might keep me from reaching the breaking point of needing to chuck in my plans to go sit on a beach alone. Like, maybe if I occasionally had some time to myself throughout the year, I would feel so overwhelmed by December’s high social load.
The stress in my life could be seen as a good thing, I suppose, since it brings viscerally to my attention the fact that my lifestyle could do with a bit of a touching up. It is certainly motivating me to prioritise what’s actually important to me, namely my health and wellbeing. I don’t really have any choice – if I keep this up, I’m going to end up with high blood pressure or something.
So, having thought that through… what’s the plan? Do I take myself off for a well-deserved break – stress leave from family, friends and acquaintances, so to speak – or do I simply do my best to carve out a bit of time for myself this festive season?