I want to talk about something that I did during my separation that completely changed my outlook on the situation. I was 5 months into being a single mother of 4. I was exhausted mentally, physically, and emotionally. I spent every day worrying over my husband; whether he would call, whether he would answer my texts, who he was with... And I was tapped out. I had taken everything I could take.
That's when a good friend asked me about coming to visit them in Virginia. I had never been there, and the idea sounded nice. Still, I came up with a thousand reasons why I couldn't or shouldn't go. But my friend was insistent that a week on a lake would be like medicine. Boy, were they right. I ended up spending nine days there with the kids. It was like heaven on earth. We went out on a boat on a lake, we swam, we shopped, we went to historic sites, we hiked. It was everything the kids and I needed.
I consider taking a small vacation to be one of THE BEST things that I did during my stand. Here's why:
- It brought a change in scenery. I wasn't stuck at home, surrounded by everything that reminded me of my husband.
- It challenged me. I am a very anxious person; even going to a grocery store alone causes me to feel very anxious and uncomfortable. However, making myself pack up the car and drive 12 hours to a place I had never been, without any help, was a challenge that I was able to accomplish.
- It distracted me, which helped me accomplish "no contact." I had a really hard time not contacting Eric with things I wanted to share with him. Imagine how it felt for him that I went from bugging him with things he didn't care about to being way too busy to talk because, um, I was visiting the origin of American history as we know it... sorry!
- It gave me the relaxation that I so desperately needed. This is a given. Vacations are meant to be carefree, and this vacation was everything carefree. (I'll talk a little more about this in a minute.)
- It strengthened me. I overcame fears. I got out of my head. I healed while surrounded with the love and family-like environment of my friends' home. And I accomplished things I never thought I could have before.
- This trip for me was actually a catalyst for Eric coming home. He later confessed that hearing all about the things the kids and I did without him broke his heart. It made him realize he didn't want to be on the outside of our life, he wanted to be a part of it.
I stayed with friends, which saved me hundreds of dollars. I would recommend figuring out if you have friends or family who live somewhere you have never been, or maybe would be willing to split costs to vacation somewhere with you. Another thing I did was stop and smell the roses, so to speak. Every state park nearby, and along the trip became further (free) adventure for us. Another thing that I recommend is making sure to not over plan your vacation. Having no agenda makes things so much easier than planning and going constantly. There were some days that we had a ton of things planned, and others where we just went swimming, or did some walking in the area. The fact that we weren't feeling rushed around allowed us to really unwind. I think that finding a way to take a little vacation, no matter how close or far from where you live is going to be life changing.