Planning for Your Plans to Not Go According to Plan (or how to not freak out when you get sick on vacation)

How do you react when your plans don't go the way you want them to?

How do you react when your plans don’t go the way you want them to?

Normally, when John and I go away on vacation, I have a tendency to overplan. I plan out the restaurants we’re going to eat at (and when). I might rent us bicycles, book a harbor tour, or hire a driver for visiting wineries. I create spreadsheets of what we’re doing, what we could do if we have extra time and even seek out coupons or special deals in the area. I get a little nuts!

All of these things mean a pretty nailed down itinerary by the time we leave which gives my control freak side some comfort. I like knowing what’s next but  John does not have a control freak side and he can’t appreciate it. He’d rather just show up somewhere and see where it takes us (and his dream vacation includes lots of naps, no plans, internet time and TV).

This year for vacation I decided to attempt to “let go”of my control freak tendencies and only lightly plan our trip. I booked nothing but our hotels and flights ahead of time! There are a couple of restaurants and things that I want to do this week but I’m not scheduling any of it. It sounds so lame, I’m sure, but trying to let go of my need to control every minute of our vacation pushes me out of my comfort zone, which is important and healthy to do once in awhile.

It’s a little ironic that I am trying to relax my need for control with this vacation because just a couple of days before we jumped on the plane (heading out to Oregon) I came down with symptoms that were similar to strep throat. Ugggggg. Yes, this certainly pushes me further out of my comfort zone. It’s also serving as a reminder that I can plan all I want, but life may have other things in mind for me.

As much as I planned to avoid planning this vacation, getting sick right before take off was definitely not something I saw coming. I seriously never get sick – once every year or two!

I had some moments of panic. First of all, I hate going to the doctor (it sets off my anxiety in a big way) but I knew that swollen glands, stiff neck, swollen red tonsils and a fever wasn’t just my allergies and the last thing I wanted was to end up needing to go to an urgent care center or the ER while across the country so it was better to go see someone before we left. Figured I needed to at least go and get a strep test (which I did, but as of the time I had to schedule this post, I didn’t have the results back yet – hmm, wonder if I’ll have strep or not?) But aside from going to the doctor being stressful for me . . . we don’t get to go away all that often, and rarely visit places I’ve never been before, so feeling so crappy when I have a 8/9 day trip to take was kind of a big bummer. Who wants to roam around a new city in the heat when their neck and throat feels like someone stuffed barbed wire covered cotton balls in it?

Another reason I was bummed is because the last 4 days of our trip would be spent in the Willamette Valley – Oregon’s wine region. John and I love wine (we even got married in the Sonoma Valley) and love tasting wine from different regions, especially tasting it where it’s made! I love learning about how it’s produced, how the climate and soil affects the taste particular wines will have. But drinking wine is the last thing on my mind. Plus, everything tastes (and feels) awful when you have swollen tonsils! Waahh!

The Sunday before we left, I woke up and went straight to the medicine cabinet to grab the thermometer. After alternating between chills and sweating in bed most of the night, I confirmed my suspicion that I now had a fever. I’ll admit that I even found myself briefly in tears feeling sad and sorry for myself for getting this sick a few days before vacation.

I wallowed for a few minutes but then I put an end to it. I choose to put an end to it.

I can have my momentary panic and a little cry (did I mention also that I’m PMSing?). I can feel a little annoyed and sad that I probably won’t feel my best during at least the first half of our trip. I can’t control this stuff (as much as I’d like to).

But I can control how much I let being sick affect my attitude, my feelings and my mood.

I have choices.

I can be the drama queen/control freak that I know I can be sometimes and wallow in the physical pain I feel. I can let negative thoughts fester and grow. I can remind myself over and over how much I’m not going to enjoy certain parts of the trip. I can make myself feel so much worse by focusing on the negatives of this situation.

Or . . .

I can accept that this is something I don’t have control over but not let it have such a big effect on me. Being sick is annoying, uncomfortable and the timing really sucks BUT it’s a short term illness (not a long term, debilitating condition!). I will feel better in a few days. I can still visit a new city and see all that it has to offer. Maybe I’ll need to take a few naps (something I’m not good at) or take my normal activity level down a notch or two (something else I’m not good at) and maybe food/drink won’t be the same since things don’t taste very good right now but I can still go on vacation and I’m very fortunate to be able to go on vacation in the first place. I don’t have to let this sickness ruin my whole trip.

I know I’ve said this at least a dozen times on this blog but while we can’t control what thoughts pop in our heads, we can decide what to do with them and what we do with them (let them pass on by or indulge them) hugely affects how we are going to feel. Thoughts are so powerful! I don’t want to let a little sickness ruin my whole trip, so I’m not going to let it! I’m grateful that it’s not something more serious and that it is something that I can work around on my trip.

By the time this is posted, I will be on a plane heading home from our trip (I wrote this before we left!). I’m assuming we had a good time and I will be feeling much better (mentally and physically!).

Are you a control freak too? How do you handle it when your plans go off track or something is beyond your control? Does it feel good to you to “wallow” or “indulge” negative thoughts? Or do you prefer the outcome when you allow negative thoughts pass on by? Is letting go of a need to control something you need to practice?

Update: (Post trip) Yep, it was strep! When our plane landed in Portland, I had a voicemail on my phone from my doctor’s office confirming the results of my culture were positive. Luckily I had prefilled an antibiotic prescription from them before I left NH and I could take it right away. Felt crummy for the first 2 days of vacation but I slept a little extra (and drank kombucha at breweries instead of beer) and I felt much better after that. We had an awesome time! I know deciding ahead of time to not let my sickness ruin vacation made a huge difference in how our trip went. Both of us consider this one of our best vacations to date and plan to visit Oregon again soon!


Keep your eyes open for a special offer coming soon! In September I will be making a special (limited quantity) offer to those of you who are new to coaching, that will make trying it more affordable! Make sure you are on my email list so that you don’t miss this offer when it’s ready! Joining this list automatically means you receive my free eBook Healthy Eating Shouldnt Be aWorkout:  Real Life Strategies to Take the Confusion Out of Healthy Living (includes recipes, snack and meal ideas, ways to save money and more!).

 

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