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Faith Wood: Turn the heat down on your summer holiday stressThe summer heat is on! It may have taken some time to arrive (especially for those in the western provinces), but those warm temperatures are here. And with them, the frantic scramble to get on the road and enjoy a little down time with the family.

We work so hard year-round to reach this moment. The children are out of school, bored and needing some family time. Our hopes are high that we’ll create the most magical of memories.

From camping units to overloaded vehicles, we’re hitting the highways so we can hurry up and relax. There’s never enough time and we don’t want to miss a moment of fun. Everyone is smiling, laughing, perhaps singing off-key to the latest mix tape.

We have the patience of a saint at the first real construction tie-up. But then the traffic gets heavier. The construction seems to show up every 10 kilometres and always at the passing lanes.

There’s that guy who wont stop riding your bumper.

And the one who has the whole line slowing to more than 20 km/hour below the speed limit. And you can’t get past him. Oh, you try to pass, but that’s when he steps on the accelerator. So you wait for the passing lane, hoping to squeeze by on the steep climb. Not a chance – that’s when he presses firmly on the pedal. It seems so deliberate and you can feel your frustration rising. You’re both madly climbing the hill at more than 130 km/hour, simply pacing each other. It’s game on!

Then the commercial truck pulls out to pass one of its slower colleagues and doesn’t have enough power to get by before the end of the passing lane.

Another construction zone ties you up for at least 30 minutes. You notice your teeth grinding when you see the “Expect delays” sign.

Tourists jumping out of their vehicles to take pictures with the wildlife present yet another hazard.

You arrive at a great campsite to find you’re beside the new trailer family yelling at each another about the poor directions for backing up. You fight the urge to jump into their vehicle and park the darn thing for them.

Or perhaps you plan to avoid all that campground nonsense. The last time nearly drove you to drink – at least more heavily than you should. This year you made sure things were organized. You planned ahead and booked a hotel. But you booked with an online app and they can’t locate your reservation. Now you’re scrambling to find an alternate before the kids or your partner go completely mad.

There are lots of summer-related events that can increase our blood pressure rather than lower it. We have such high expectations. We plan for the fun times and instead we get conflict. Children complaining about being disconnected from their technology (or maybe that’s your partner). The heat, the crowds, congestion and then the mosquitos … it can all be a bit much.

Take a breath! Summer is amazing. You get to pack less clothing. Shoes are optional. Music is more upbeat and the office won’t fall apart without you. You can get the kids out for a bike ride, a hike or just water play at the beach. It won’t matter if the traffic flow is all stop and start – you’ll still get there eventually.

Take a moment to enjoy the view. Stop driving so close to the car in front of you. It won’t make them speed up. Quit passing on the double solid and at blind corners. Plan to arrive at your destination without a major incident.

Do not flip the bird at other motorists who are genuinely attempting to make it through their day as well. Smile. Sing. Breathe.

You got this!

Troy Media columnist Faith Wood is a novelist and professional speaker who focuses on helping groups and individuals navigate conflict, shift perceptions and improve communications. 

Turn the heat down on your summer holiday stress

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