When I came back from my first cruise, I literally felt like I was still on the cruise ship at times with its constant swaying. This lasted a few weeks after the cruise. I even woke up in the middle of the night from what I can only describe as my brain trying to connect with my shipless reality.
Having this swaying sensation in the absence of being on a boat led me to realize that sometimes our minds can get stuck cruising while the rest of our bodies struggle to go through the motions of life. This creates and out-of-balance state that I call “vacation brain.”
The Urban Dictionary offers two definitions for “vacation brain.”
“The 1-2 days before vacation when you can’t get much work done because your brain is already on vacation.”
“When you feel like you’re on vacation but you actually aren’t.”
Those definitions make sense, and I’ve experienced both, but allow me to offer a third definition. Vacation brain is:
“Failure to live your life in a deliberate way that leads toward balance physically, mentally, and spiritually.”
Let’s face it, if we live our daily lives the same way we live when we on vacation, we’d all be in serious trouble.
Symptoms of Vacation Brain
The symptoms of “vacation brain” exist within what I call a cruise ship lifestyle. Here are the ones that stand out most to me.
- Increased comparisons
- God neglect
- Flesh focus
Understanding the Symptoms of Vacation Brain helps us delve deeper into how this topic relates to the influence of culture and also discuss the application to our everyday lives. Discussing how to remedy this unhealthy state of existence is also important.
The Remedy for Vacation Brain
The best remedy that I know of for “vacation brain” comes from Romans 12:2.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
When I came home from my first cruise vacation and started feeling the shipless swaying sensations, I knew that concentration and focus would be a struggle for me until the sensations went away. While Mal de Debarquement Syndrome does not go away for some people, I am thankful that it does for me.
We must stay keenly aware that vacation brain can easily become a part of our everyday lifestyles if we don’t deliberately choose to not let that happen. Consider the following for helping keep vacation brain from becoming a lifestyle.
- Renew. Renew the routines and habits that work well and discard or revamp what doesn’t.
- Read. I need to get as much positive input as possible, so I read God-focused blogs in addition to my Bible. Reading is one of the best ways to renew your thinking.
- Reconnect. While my husband and I connected a great deal on our cruise, I missed my friends and the rest of my family. Reconnecting helps you to refocus.
- Review. Review your priorities. Checking your calendar and your checkbook can help with doing this.
- Refuse. Vacations should be relaxing. They should help create new perspectives or reestablish old, helpful ones. Refuse to let the benefits of vacations be erased.
Almost immediately upon our return from our first cruise vacation, we had to deal with some significant life issues. I found myself wondering if the relaxation of vacation would dissipate more quickly than it came. Then I realized that vacations don’t create a state of peace that will live on indefinitely; instead, they should hit a reset button that helps us re-balance in a way to better deal with life’s coming challenges.