Getting over holiday guilt – the problem with being over-occupied

Posted on 20/01/2015

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sitting on the beach

A neurotic abroad

You can take the man out the city, but you can’t take the city out of the man. Welcome to holiday guilt.

It’s not what you might think. I don’t feel guilty for being on holiday. Everyone needs a break from time to time and a change of scenery. Holidays are vital to keep you sane and to stop (if only for 20 days a year) work dominating your life.

It’s not as if dislike holidays. One of my favourite things is switching off all screens and focussing completely on wherever I’ve ended up. That and reading.

But a week outside of my usual routines and I become twitchy. An itch that can only be satisfied by “doing”. I start to set mini challenges, like tracking how many pages left to read, tallying how many books I’ve read, or starting a new blog article a day. I forget I’m on holiday and go back to living by targets.

It’s caused by having time off, by doing something different to what I normally do. By stopping.

The only escape is staying active. Moving around, arranging trips. The less time I have to “turtle” (the unofficial term for introverted activities like reading, sleeping and spending time alone) the better.

Living in London can seem continuous and cluttered. Perhaps if I didn’t make life such a struggle by trying to do too much, holiday wouldn’t be such a big shift. But then would it seem as relaxing? Would it feel so well deserved? Holiday guilt might still exist, just in a different form. Who knows. Actually who cares.

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