Humm! So what does that actually mean? Here’s the actual quote…..
“A holiday is a permitted — or rather a prescribed — excess, a solemn violation of a prohibition.”
So is Freud … or am I….telling you to throw caution and judgment to the wind? Not really. However, it is a suggestion that too much restriction can cause us to forget to indulge, to jump in, to relish the pleasure of what he calls “solemn violations.”
You or friends have shared the “guilty feelings” of sleeping late, partying a ‘little too hard,”falling off your healthy routine of eating and exercising and then, when it’s you falling out of step with your usual organized days, “beating up” on yourself for doing so. What if, instead, you give yourself the pleasure of a change in your routine, your daily RULES, and intentionally do something that feels totally fun and indulgent. Certainly NOT something bad for you….something different that you genuinely enjoy, that brings you pleasure, makes you smile, makes you embrace your day, your friends, family, your life. THEN get back to the routine that makes the daily, weekly engine work. It’s a bit like hitting the ‘refresh button.’
Years ago, a client shared how “terrible” she felt about having stayed in bed for an entire day — not because she was sick, just because it sounded so relaxing. AND she went on to talk about how good it felt. So the conflict seemed about doing something so different yet feeling so good! I couldn’t count how many individuals have shared the pure pleasure of staying in bed all day with a good book or mindless movies. Other examples: a weekend retreat all on your own; a lovely lunch in your favorite restaurant mid week with a good book rather than a companion; a movie in the middle of a week day afternoon or a movie marathon with friends; a splurge of your own choosing. Just watch for the voice that wants to label the idea LAZY. Try a “solemn violation” instead…. or a GIFT to yourself that’s totally different from what you might typically do.
Bottom line: it never helps to give yourself a hard time and stir up negative thought distortions about behavior you consider “indulgent.” Savor it, enjoy the experience, and then return to your normal behavior refreshed by the “vacation” …. And remember healthy self care is the bar for “measuring” your choices and behaviors. I think that’s what Dr. Freud had in mind!