My (Mostly) Anxiety-Free Family Vacation

I cannot fully express how good it feels to be writing this post right now. As I type this it’s Sunday night, my whole family is fed and bathed, and I can’t stop smiling as I look at these photos that we took earlier today. It was the last morning of our family vacation to Sarasota and although Anel and I were both physically exhausted from chasing around a very active little girl for four days, we were so happy and fulfilled.

I compare that to the last morning of our last family vacation to Bermuda in November and the contrast is like night and day. That morning I had a full blown panic attack and although I tried every coping mechanism I had in my back pocket, nothing was enough. I could hardly breathe for most of our flight home, and although that day was awful, it was important for me to experience it so that I could make what has shaped up to be one of the best decisions of my life.

Traveling with Amalia has been my biggest anxiety trigger for the last two years. I don’t know exactly why but I think it was the fear of her not feeling comfortable in a new place, the fear of her not sleeping at night, and a major lack of control. I never in a million years thought that I would be able to take her on vacation and be able to enjoy it without crippling anxiety.

I went into this trip with those same fears, as many mothers might, but they didn’t make me anxious. Instead, I was able to focus on making her feel happy and safe and doing my best to help her sleep well. Full disclosure, she missed one nap and that afternoon my anxiety peeked out for a few hours but dissipated as soon as Anel helped me realize that I was having intrusive thoughts and that everything, in reality, was just fine. I’m beyond grateful to him and the role he has played in my anxiety journey.

The biggest surprise for me was on Friday morning when Anel played golf and Amalia and I were on our own about five hours. In the past, if I was alone with her in a new place I would panic. It made no logical sense but I think the thought of something going wrong and me not knowing where to go or what to do was what set me off. But this time around we had the best time ever. I took her to the beach and we made sandcastles, swam in the ocean and the pool, and played games. But most of all, we were happy. Happy with each other, relaxed with each other, and despite a mild tantrum or two, I was able to handle it without fear and without doubting myself. Granted, I could barely stand at the end of it because she kept trying to run into the ocean/pool, but I guess that was my cardio for the day!

There were definitely challenging moments of the trip, which is to be expected, but Anel and I were able to work through them as a team, stay (mostly) positive, and I even slept well which is super rare slash unheard of for me when we travel.

The other really cool thing about this vacation is that I was able to let go of control and be more spontaneous. On our first night there, we heard that the Sarasota County Fair was in town so we headed over last minute to check it out. Amalia loved all of the animals and we even went on our first fair ride together! I was for sure more scared than she was.

I was going to recap the whole trip for you guys, but I think what’s more important here is that because my medication keeps my anxiety at bay, I was able to be present, laugh and play with my family, and not be so damn worried about everything all the time.

My only regret is that we didn’t get even one family photo!

The highlight of the trip was watching Amalia enjoy her first ice cream cone since last summer. I got her strawberry because she loves fruit, but she promptly stole Anel’s Phish Food and went to town on it.

Lilly Pulitzer Dress c/o / Similar Headband / Sandals / Amalia’s Bubble c/o (Similar for $30) / Amalia’s Native Shoes (Similar for $10)

Lilly Pulitzer Dress c/o / Similar Headband / Sandals / Amalia’s Bubble c/o (Similar for $30) / Amalia’s Native Shoes (Similar for $10)

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Comments

  1. Alessandra said:

    I am so happy for you!

    3.25.19 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Thank you so much!

      3.25.19 · Reply
  2. Bonnie said:

    Julia thank you SO much for your openness and reallness about anxiety! I have dealt with anxiety on and off my whole life and it peaked this winter while pregnant with my second. The honesty of you and some other bloggers helped me decide to get back on medication and it has been the best decision ever! I wish more people, especially moms, would be open about this! Thank you again and congrats on your beautiful family!

    3.25.19 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      I’m so sorry to hear about your struggles, Bonnie. It makes me so happy to know that you’re on the mend with meds. I hope they work as well for you as they have for me!

      3.26.19 · Reply
  3. Emily said:

    I’m so happy for you! Sounds like you had an amazing trip! Huge congrats on an anxiety free trip! šŸ™‚

    3.25.19 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Thank you Emily! It really was amazing šŸ™‚

      3.25.19 · Reply
  4. Maureen said:

    It is so nice to be able to have time with your family without anxiety creeping in.
    How wonderful you were able to enjoy yourself.

    3.25.19 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Thanks Maureen! It felt magical.

      3.25.19 · Reply
  5. Morgan Walsh said:

    I’m so glad you had a wonderful trip. Your pictures truly show your happiness! Would you be up for a a subsequent post with any recommendations for Sarasota? I am going in two weeks for a babymoon (your initial babymoon post is one of the reasons we chose the location) and would love any info. I did not know if there was anything new that we must check out since your last post. Thank you so much!!

    3.25.19 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Amazing! So happy you’re going. We didn’t really get out much, just stayed mostly on property but definitely check out Shore restaurant (and the store) and we love the botanical gardens for something different to do. Crop for smoothies/juices in the morning!

      3.25.19 · Reply
      • Morgan Walsh said:

        Thank you! We are staying at the same hotel so I appreciate all your posts. Congrats again on an enjoyable vacation!

        3.25.19 · Reply
        • Julia said:

          Enjoy it! They make great mocktails at the hotel restaurant, btw. And the fresh fruit popsicles by the pool are to die for.

          3.25.19 · Reply
  6. Elizabeth said:

    I have loved and appreciated your posts about your anxiety and your comments about the control aspect of traveling with Amalia definitely resonate with me!

    I also resonated with your acknowledgement of Anel in your journey. My husband has been my number one support in working through my anxiety and seeking solutions that work for me/us. You’re the one doing most of the hard work, but it makes a world of difference having your team mate working with you and cheering you on!

    So much love to you and your family!

    3.25.19 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      We’re so lucky to have supportive husbands. It can’t be easy for them to live with someone with anxiety. Thank God for them!

      3.26.19 · Reply
  7. Elle said:

    I love reading this!! I’m so curious- how did you find a medicine that worked well for you? Did you have to try a few different ones or did the first one you try work?

    3.25.19 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      I went to a psychiatrist who really spent time learning about my exact situation (she also had a pow-wow with my therapist) and she recommended one based on that. I was really lucky that the first one I tried worked out so well but we did play around with the amount and the timing of when I took it each day. It took about 2 months to perfect.

      3.25.19 · Reply
  8. Libby said:

    I am so happy you had a great trip!! You deserve it!! Also, the pictures of Amalia eating the chocolate ice cream were priceless ahah!

    xx Libby
    https://premedwearspearls.blogspot.com

    3.25.19 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Literally my favorite moment of the entire trip and maybe the whole year so far. It was adorable!

      3.26.19 · Reply
  9. Sylvia Falendysz said:

    Amazing photos, Thank you for great tips .

    5.3.19 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Thanks Sylvia!

      5.5.19 · Reply