Oxford terms are stressful and we often neglect to take care of ourselves as we prioritize studying over our well-being. During Hilary, I suffered from extreme exhaustion, insomnia, and many times I doubted whether my work was ever going to be enough. Being constantly sleep-deprived and stressed over a long period of time makes it very hard to relax once the vacation arrives.
Having time off is very important for me because it helps me to reconnect with myself and my needs. The vacation also boosts our creativity, and after a break we can become more refreshed and productive. However, we should bear in mind that even though vacations are meant to improve our mental health, they can sometimes be stressful, as we receive a lot of social pressure to travel. Travelling is being over-romanticized and has become very popular. I have accepted a lot of peer pressure, especially through Instagram, telling me why I should be travelling and which destinations are rendered ‘hot’. The worst thing you can do is compare your vacation to other people’s, and feel sad after looking at the pictures they have posted on their social media. You shouldn’t feel pressured to travel as #travelgoals do not have to be our only #holidaygoals. It is okay to normalize staying at home rather than travelling.
During vacation time, I lack a routine. I usually binge on food and alcohol with friends visiting some of my favourite restaurants and bars in my home island, Rhodes, by the beach. I usually over-nap and spend excessive screen time on Netflix and social media without feelings of guilt. I prefer chilling at home, watching TV series, and that’s okay, because that is what being on holiday means for me. I indulge in endless reruns of 90s sitcoms such as Friends, Seinfeld, Frazier, The Golden Girls, and Cheers. Even though we live in a time of unprecedented choice, I still love watching sitcoms from the ‘90s repetitively, because they are comforting to me. I even have these shows on in the background while playing on my phone, or on autoplay until I fall asleep.
The ultimate note is that there is no such thing as “the perfect vacation”. Whether you like binge-watching TV series at home, clubbing with your friends, or going on holidays, all options are perfectly acceptable. We should not coerce ourselves to live the “vacation dream” because each of us has our own preferences when it comes to relaxing. Having high expectations could be detrimental, as it could lead us to feel like failures. Instead, I would suggest doing what you most enjoy.