1 year ago 💘 for day 301, 2020 with 832 words.

How do you retain that vacation chill?

We spent a few days away last week and it was so great! Honestly, we didn't do very much at all, but we managed to leave our cares at the door and managed to relax entirely. The first day we just hung out in our hotel room, ordered room service, took a hot bath, read for a bit and watched some tv shows. The second day we rented an e-scooter and zoomed through the woods to a small nearby town where we did a quick Ikea trip (because the down blanket was too hot for Dim and he couldn't sleep all night), grabbed a sandwich from a bakery and ate it outside in the sunshine on a bench. Then we went to the zoo! Which was both wonderful and terrible because it was far more crowded than I'd expected it to be. It was a beautiful day and though much of it was fine but near the end, small groups of people were becoming crowds and we did our best to maintain distance from people and then headed home. Still, I saw wolves! Real wolves running around and playing and it was mesmerizing! On our last day we rented the e-scooter again (we loved it! It was a total joke trying to fit both of us on there and we laughed a lot. It was also perfectly quiet and such a smooth right, a real joy to be on!) grabbed food nearby and then ate it at this nature reserve. It was colder then but it didn't matter. We took a walk there, zoomed around some more and headed back to the room to relax.

In a lot of ways, we did way more than I'd expected! We did cancel our swimming session because we didn't feel comfortable heading into the pool/sauna with the numbers rising the way they were. Outside felt safer to us. Despite how active we were, I felt much better than I had in weeks! When we got home, both of us felt... weird. Restless. Neither of us can quite put our fingers on it but for some reason, we couldn't manage that same feeling of letting go that we had on our holiday. We do both feel much more lighthearted though, him and I both, and for that alone, it was worth it! But now, two days later, I feel back where I was. Overwhelmed, pained and tired.

Ever since I'm wondering what I can do to recreate that feeling. What is it that made me feel so much better there than here? It wasn't that I was without pain (I took some paracetamol every day), but my headaches were certainly less bothersome and my neck & back felt so much less tight (for the first time in.. well I can remember, I could almost touch my chin to my chest. I can never do that, my neck is so tight, I'd been told that's impossible for me!). I felt less tight. Less stuck in my head. Less inward. More capable of gazing outward. What was it?

Was it the daily hot bath? (I know that sounds ridiculous, but it's been chosen to help with pain management for people with fibromyalgia, so it might actually not be that far off) Was it the high down pillows? It didn't feel so nice, but maybe it helped anyway? The harder mattress? Maybe it was the warm decor? The knowing that there was nothing left that I had to fix. Or maybe it was the fact that I didn't have to do anything. No laundry, no tidying up, no dishes, no dinner, no groceries. All I had to do was pick my dinner off of a list and eat it. That's it. Was it the relaxed moments on the e-scooter, just sitting and staring? Was it the movement? The fresh air? The laying in bed and relaxing? Those sitting chairs? Where I could lean back and lay my head on the top without having to sit upright actively? Or was it that I wasn't doing or thinking about work at all? No goals or plans or things to do. No chores or must-do's, no making sure that I have enough energy for what needs to be done. Maybe it was all of it. Maybe it was all of those things falling away that made it possible for that constant hummm of tension that I always feel, to fall away. I feel myself folding into myself again, concerned with trying to make daily life work and to protect myself and my energy.

I wish I could feel like I felt when I came home this Sunday every day. I've always believed that you can 'make that happen', that you can 'change your mindset' and make it happen. But what if you can't? Why can't I? I've managed to sculpt so much of my own mind and yet this... I can't seem to. How does one do this?

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By Leonie Jonk 💘

Artist & Spoonie I write about my life as an artist and as a person with chronic pain, the struggles, the rewards, the inspiration & the downfalls. Oh and occasionally the odd piece of fiction :)

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