It took 8 months (yes specifically 8, I checked the chat history) to plan and book a weekend away with friends. We all missed celebrating our 40th birthdays together during lockdown so it was well worth the wait, plus there were many deliberations among the 8 of us, and that kept us somewhat ‘entertained’ in the meantime (diplomatic use of inverted commas there).
After my night out with friends, the other week, I was feeling confident I could manage a night of drinking but what would a whole chaotic (I know my friends) weekend be like? Well, I thought I would be writing about my fatigue struggles but since everything went very smoothly, I’ve decided to give some thought about what I feel helped keep me going.
Our stunning holiday cottage
Where to stay? A holiday cottage far out-weighed any hotel. Here’s why:
No.1 – Being in a hotel usually means being in one room. As nice and as big as some rooms can be, if I did feel I could only stay on site, leaving the room would mean being around other guests, making small talk, looking more presentable etc this is all energy zapping. I can tell friends I need to sit in quiet but telling a stranger would just seem rude.
No.2 – If you rent a place which has outside space, there’s nothing more relaxing than sitting in the sun with a cold drink. Hotel grounds can be nice so you can do this too but you’re relying on their service to bring you a drink and again you’re close to other people which may not be so peaceful or relaxing.
No.3 – A cottage gives you space to retreat to your room for peace and quiet at any time. No long corridors, no “where’s the door key?”, no waiting for the maid to finish cleaning, no strangers to pass on route. Just off you go to relax in your own space and time.
No.4 – A hotel generally means set meal times. While I could possibly make a 10am breakfast the effort in getting up, dressed and being around strangers can be hard and almost certainly cause a crash after. It was much nicer getting up in my own time, going downstairs in my pyjamas grabbing a brew while I assessed what I could manage that day. The same goes for lunch and evening meal. Set times mean a time pressure to be there, being unwell means I need flexibility.
No.5 – If I were to crash, a hotel could mean I miss an entire meal. A holiday cottage has cooking facilities, so our time was our own. I ate breakfast at 8am, yes in my pyjamas, then went back to bed. I then ate at 11:30am (cold pizza from the night before, ha!) then we headed out. Not only was I not hungry too soon I also could join in with ice-creams later.
No.6 – Room choice. I hadn’t realised how being unwell has shifted my priorities and now what I consider a luxury to be are anything that makes my life easier, calmer, more peaceful and above all more energy saving. There was a choice between a room with an en-suite or a larger room with chairs and a dressing table. I had to mentally play out my weekend to decide if I actually needed to shower at all and if sitting on a bed rather than at a dressing table would be better for me. I gave up the en-suite. I would only use the main shower once and since I wanted to attempt make-up and dry my hair, which I do sitting down, the dressing table would be best. Plus, the other chairs I could relax in and switch off in peace when I needed. My friends of course were made-up with this decision too.
Huge bedroom, a welcome retreat and perfect to relax.
No.7 – Packing. In my well days I’ve often tried to pack light. Not now. I’m sick. I compromise enough. I want everything to help me feel comfortable and if I feel I can use hair straighteners then I will take them. Looking nice gives me a boost. I’m on holiday, it’s a time for freedom. I like my partner’s mantra ‘’if it fits in, we can take it’’. Ok then, I will.So accommodation is important. Now here’s 3 things that I personally did to keep my fatigue at bay:
No.8 – I put down my mobile phone. At home I find myself picking up my phone first thing on a morning and either scrolling social media or playing a game. Time runs and so does my ability to see straight. I can literally start to crash after a solid hour of browsing. Not this weekend. I only used my phone about three times and one of those was to take photos.
No.9 – Be with good people. My friends didn’t question anything I did or didn’t do. We decided together what we wanted to do or where to go and it was an easy unplanned slow-paced day. My partner also was a huge help. He understands better than anyone the help I need and just gets on with it. Good people around you, takes away the stress of feeling like you have to justify yourself. Remember, any negative emotion zaps your energy too. Plus, you’re on holiday, you should feel free in every sense.
No.10 – Relax. You are there to have fun. Try not to pre-empt how you would feel if you do this… and how you would feel if you do that… I knew I would be eating high fat, sugary foods and drinking alcohol and that doing so would keep my energy levels high. I also knew I had the following week to recover. On a morning I ate breakfast and then went back to bed. After our afternoon out I went to bed for an hour. If I needed space I stayed in my room. I did what I could, when I could. I didn’t get drunk and then refuse to have a day out in case I crashed out and missed the evening meal. I think my relaxed mindset must have reduced the stress in me, thus giving me a bit more energy to keep going too.
All of these things helped me get through the weekend fairly smoothly. We had a late night Friday night, up until 2am. We had a bimble along the lake shore and sat by the Harbour before a game of crazy golf (I didn’t win, boo!) and a walk through the town. Ok, I didn’t go as wild as in my well days. I mean drinking diet coke, with my evening meal the next night, and going to bed at 11pm was pretty much unheard of in the past but when you’re unwell and that’s all you feel like then that’s ok. I had a good time with great company and above all escapism from the norm.
My partner and I have booked our next trip. We’ll be staying in a camping pod. More comfort than a tent, less space than a cottage but still all the freedoms. This could be an interesting escape.
Definitely watch this space.