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Holiday Stress Survival Tips

Updated on March 18, 2011

The Holmes and Rahe scale of life-changing events accords few points to holidays. This may well be a reflection of life as it was fifty years ago. Yet doctors know from discussing the year with patients at their annual medical that the success or failure of a holiday figures much higher in their dreams and hopes than would be supposed by reading the Holmes and Rahe table. As work has become more demanding, as paternalism and the concept of a two-way loyalty of employer to employee for a working life has faded, and as hours have lengthened without a corresponding increase in the sense of achievement, the importance of a holiday has increased.

If a respite from the commuting rat race has been looked forward to for weeks or months - perhaps even for the whole year - and it is then spoilt, then those who had hoped to enjoy an oasis in the desert that their lives have become may develop a sense of failure.

To further complicate matters, modern holidays serve different purposes, depending on whether a person is married or unmarried, partnered or single, with or without children. The larger the family unit, whatever the nature of the link or commitment to each other, the greater is the chance of disaster, because the more difficult it is for everyone to have their expectations satisfied.

Holidays and the single traveler

The choice of companion or group for the unmarried holiday-goer is all-important. Just making this decision can cause stress long before the holiday starts.

The following questions reflect the type of decisions that face singles when deciding on holidays.

Will my usual group of friends really want me to go on holiday with them?

  1. Is it a good idea to go away with my current boy or girlfriend once again, or should I try and broaden my life?
  2. Can I really afford the destination the others have already chosen?
  3. Can I afford to take the time off?
  4. And do I really want to go to Miami?
  5. Does the rest of the party have the same holiday ideas as I do?

Holidays for those in long-term relationships

If you think that the problems single people face when selecting holiday destination seem almost insurmountable, then consider how much greater they are for some couples. The two people in question may well have been attracted to each other and married one another for qualities that don't include sharing holiday interests, but any differences may be lost in the hurly-burly of everyday life. Once on holiday, however, being shut away together in a three-star hotel bedroom while separated from all the comforts of home life does nothing to improve an already strained relationship.

Some married couples try to overcome this problem by always going away as part of a group. The groupings are always interesting. Yet even here, there can be pitfalls. Very often, the habitual holiday groups contain one or two people who, for years, have rather admired other people's wives or husbands or long-term partners, and the annual holiday has been an opportunity to enjoy their company - usually innocently. The tensions any jealousy can create for their other halves, however, can be considerable.

Once there is a family, finding a holiday that will suit everyone becomes even more difficult. All is well when the children are small - provided that they don't become ill, sleepless, irritable and homesick. Difficulties begin to arise when they reach the later teenage years. There is not only the question as to whether they will enjoy a holiday with their parents, but they may also be worried about keeping up with the Joneses at school or university. Your week in Corfu may seem dull compared to the visits to exotic destinations enjoyed by your teenagers' contemporaries.

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