Why can't I enjoy vacations (and this is totally my fault)?

Hey there!

Long time since my last post (over an year). Yeah, I know: shame on me :(. But hopefully, this will change this year, since one of my new year’s resolution is to write more.

So, for the very first post of this year, I’ll talk about something that can sound weird for most of people, but has been my reality for a long time: I can’t enjoy vacations!

Yeah, I hate it and this is totally my fault.

Let me start with a fact about myself: I’m very anxious.

This can be tough most of the time, since I’m extremely impacted by other’s opinions about myself, so the team’s approval about my job is very important. But this can also be a blessing, since this anxiety acts like an impulse, making me work harder to match people (and company) expectations. And this has been working pretty well in the last years.

That said, I’ve got many good feedbacks about my job and this makes me calm. And, after a long time working hard, comes the well deserved vacations: that beautiful time when you can shutdown your mind from work and focus of family, movies, video games, travel or anything else that relaxes you.

The thing is: I can’t shutdown my mind.

I like to use part of my free time to study. This is important for me, both to keep me updated about the market and latest technologies, and also it gives me pleasure, so it’s like a constant vacation :)

However, when the actual vacations arrive, some feelings become more intense.

One of them is my inability to internalise that this break is a well deserved rest period. Instead, I got the feeling like I’m wasting my time, since I could be doing something productive at work. Somehow, it feels like I’ve lost my job and this period away is like an unemployment phase, with no perspective for the future.

Another feeling that becomes stronger during this time is the impostor syndrome. Since it’s normal for me to use some vacation time to study, after each study session I got the feeling that all I know isn’t enough, and this time off is just a confirmation that my abilities are useless for the company, so better stay in home.

Pretty crazy, hum?!

I know, these feelings sounds like extreme and no sense, and they actually are. Looking my career progression over the last years, I see a clear evolution, and even knowing that I’ve so much to learn yet, my experience is clearly useful for many companies (so Linkedin says :P) and my work is appreciated. Still, my brain isn’t able to assimilate this.

Please don’t get me wrong:

It’s not like I spend my vacations sitting on the corner crying and blaming myself for being a failure. I’ve many joyful moments with my family, in home or even traveling (traveling, actually, is one of the activities that helps me to keep these feelings under control). I enjoy playing video game until late night and waking up later on the next morning, I enjoy having time to study and watch movies, go to the supermarket, anyways, any other activity I normally don’t have time during the year. But still, even in the joyful moments, those bad feelings are there, sitting on the back, waiting for the right moment to hit me back.

Anyways, one more new year’s resolution for the list: learn to enjoy vacations.