Thanks to The Motherhood and Duncan Hines for partnering with me on today’s post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Lately I’ve been fielding a lot of questions from friends and family about our upcoming big family vacation to Switzerland. The most common question I get is, “Are you excited?” I always answer with, “Yes!*” but there’s a big honkin’ asterisk next to that statement that most people don’t notice.
You see, I’m an introvert (only a slight introvert, but an introvert nonetheless), and throughout these 3 weeks there will be 10 family members (5 adults and 5 kids ages 2, 5, 6, 7, 8) living together in tight quarters. The personal space that introverts need to recharge will be very hard to come by, and I know it is going to be challenging. I get my energy from having quiet time to myself. It’s not that I prefer being alone to being with others; it’s simply how I recharge.
So what’s an introvert to do during the trip of a lifetime that’s made possible by not spending loads of money on private accommodations? She makes a plan, of course!
Here are 5 things I will be doing throughout our trip to ensure that I’m not running on fumes, mentally and emotionally.
1. Early to bed, early to rise. I am a morning person, and I take FULL advantage of this fact by waking up earlier than everyone in my house (at a minimum 1 hour earlier, but it can be as much as 3 hours earlier). I do this at home and knowing that I’ll be around 5 kids for 3 weeks, you better believe I’ll be doing this in Switzerland. I know that the kids will wake up early and they are ready to play and to ask for the nearest adult’s attention pretty much immediately (that’s how my kids act, at least), and in my experience, if I have had a good stretch of time to myself first, I’m ready to interact and give the kids what they need. People ask about how in the world I can get up at 4 am, and it’s honestly not that hard if you are disciplined enough to be asleep no later than 9 pm. I’ll miss out on some late night chats with the adults, I know, but I’ll be much more fun to be around if I follow this schedule.
2. Have a Ritual to Accompany “Me Time.” For me, this means having an iced coffee in the morning before I’ve spoken a single word to another human being. I also often will have my breakfast to myself. I typically do another version of this ritual right after lunch and it includes a scrumptious warm treat, like Duncan Hines Perfect Size for 1. I love this little treat because it comes together lightning fast (in about a minute!) and with no mess, as you put the whole thing together in one dish! The recipe calls for 3 Tbsp of water, but my tip is to add 3 Tbsp of coffee to take the cake to the next level. And a little colorful frosting and sprinkles never hurt anybody. Unicorn cake for 1 made in under 2 minutes: how perfect is that, friends?
It’s the perfect warm treat to enjoy by yourself and it really helps me gear up for the second half of the day. I’ll be packing these travel-friendly mixes so that I can have something quick and convenient to enjoy for the mid-day reboot. I’ve been enjoying Chocolate Lover’s Cake flavor, but did you know that they have 18 different varieties? It will be hard to narrow down the list to determine which ones will come with me!
3. Volunteer to Be Helpful. I will be volunteering often to be the head chef for lots of meals and to work on laundry, and to run to the grocery store down the street. I’ll be doing this, first and foremost, because it’s polite to do my part to keep the household running, but also because these are typically solo activities that can offer little pockets of personal time. Look for those little opportunities to help everyone out while helping yourself in the process.
4. Have a Chill Zone. In such close quarters, it will be unrealistic for me to declare, for example, that the room I’m staying in is a quiet zone. That’s just too much space to declare off limits to everyone else. But we can create a fort in a corner of the room that can serve that purpose! I’ve also got my own kids in mind as I think about giving a quiet area, because they will eventually get overstimulated, too, and will just need some quiet time, either by themselves or one-on-one with a parent. Even if you can’t carve out a permanent quiet space on your vacation, definitely seek out a place for calm, quiet interaction (or no interaction) each and every day.
5. Earplugs, yo. Earplugs are little treasures to me, and I honestly don’t understand why everyone else hasn’t fallen madly in love with them. I wear them when I sleep because I’m a light sleeper, and they help SOOOO much. But I also wear them during my morning quiet time (I’m wearing them as I type this, in fact!). They simply serve as a stimulation blocker and give me a period of time each day where noises are truly at a minimum. I suppose being an introvert who is at home with 2 kids has really increased my appreciation for silence, and earplugs help me get a little bit of silence each day.
I hope I’ve helped you think of some ways to carve out the “me time” that you need while vacationing with a group of people, and if you are an extrovert, I hope I’ve offered a little insight into how to help the introverts you know and love be their best selves. I hope blissful vacation days await you, along with decadent Duncan Hines treats!