When was the last time you took a vacation? Have you ever postponed, or cancelled a vacation? Have you done this repeatedly? We all need to take some time away. This is essential for everyone — and even more so for those of us dealing with anxiety, benzo withdrawal (BIND), and other psychological and neurological issues.
In an article from Forbes magazine titled "Why Taking Vacation Time Could Save your Life," the author refers to a study that found 26% of respondents had never taken two weeks of vacation at one time. In a separate article, a World Health Organization (WHO) study found that working 55 hours or more a week was associated with a 35% higher risk of stroke and a 17% higher risk of dying from heart disease than a workweek of 35 to 40 hours. And on top of that, many who do take vacations often take work with them and rarely, truly relax.
One of the benefits of vacation time is that it increases mindfulness. It also can help you catch up on sleep, develop new perspectives, relieve stress, and increase productivity. Metabolically speaking, vacation time helps to reduce high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess belly fat, and abnormal cholesterol levels.
Vacation and Benzos
Some of you may be asking, but what does that have to do with me? How can I take a vacation during benzo withdrawal and BIND?
A vacation doesn't have to be two weeks long. It can be a weekend, a day, even a few hours. Dealing with withdrawal and BIND is a form of work, hard work, intense work much of the time. And we need a break from that work. Doing this isn't always easy, but there are ways. Here are a few ideas that might help:
Utilize Your Windows — When you get a window from you symptoms, make use of it. Try and get your mind off your condition. Get out into nature and get away from your home if you can. Make use of this time to reset your mindset. It's so easy to ruminate on the state of your life, but that helps no one. Break away from the pattern, if even just for a couple of hours.
Try Some Mindfulness and Meditation — Meditation and mindfulness are very valuable tools in BIND. Even if you can't get out of the house, or escape your symptoms, you can encourage your mind to take a break — without having to go anywhere. Here are some meditation ideas from our site.
Change Your Environment — It is common for us to attribute our home with suffering during withdrawal and BIND. This is where many of us spend our time — so our house, apartment, office, whatever, can be linked to negative emotions and imagery. When you can, get away. See new things. Explore new areas. Give your mind and your emotions something else to work on, at least for a little while.
Give Your Caregiver a Break — Encourage your caregiver to take a break too. This is critical. Benzo caregivers are often overworked, stressed, and need a break just as much as we do, if not more. Encourage them to take a break away from you, when they can.
My Time to Get Away
And that brings me to... well, me.
I'm leaving tomorrow morning to the great states of Ohio and Pennsylvania. My wife has family in that area and I've never really toured either state, so it's about time. Yes, this is a road trip. Not a surprise to many of you who know me. And guess what, I'm not recording any of it for the podcast. That is a surprise to many of you. That's right, this is a vacation and it's going to stay that way.
The truth is, I've reached my limit. I do that sometimes. Then again, don't we all? And I need to take some time away to allow myself to rest, heal, and maybe even process a few emotions and some grief that I've been avoiding for some time now. This is a cycle for me, and I know when it's time to take a break.
I wish you all well and hope that you can also find some time to escape in the coming weeks. I'll be back around the second week of May and look forward to catching up with you then.
Take care my friends,
Castrillon, Caroline. "Why Taking Vacation Time Could Save Your Life." Forbes. May 23, 2021. https://www.forbes.com/sites/carolinecastrillon/2021/05/23/why-taking-vacation-time-could-save-your-life.
Foster, D E. "10 Tips for the Benzo Caregiver." Easing Anxiety. April 5, 2019. https://www.easinganxiety.com/post/10-tips-for-the-benzo-caregiver.
"Long working hours killing 745,000 people a year, study finds." BBC News. May 17, 2021. https://www.bbc.com/news/business-57139434.
Easing Anxiety is for informational purposes only, and should never be considered medical advice. Please visit our disclaimer for more information.