I laughed with my sister (along with her colleagues) last week when she shared with me that she had communicated with her colleagues that she was going to be on holiday for the morning. I think they felt that there wasn’t any point as how can you relax on holiday when you are confined to your home. More importantly there isn’t the opportunity to get away from ‘normal’ routine (I guess a luxury for those with the means to get away).
What was important to her was that she could feel that she could spend time with her amazingly patient and resourceful boys who were quietly getting on doing things like being creative, cooking, connecting and playing games with cousins, doing their daily exercise on bike rides and walks and doing helpful things around the house. It was time away from technology, doing something different and be present while they did something together that was important holiday time. I sense she felt that she wanted the boys to feel that there had been some holiday time while school wasn’t on.
I am also keen that the ‘holiday’ times can be separated from ‘school’ times. So when we get to the end of the school holidays I’d like to feel that the time hasn’t just oozed into ‘nothing’. That there are some good memorable moments. We have managed to do a few different things that wouldn’t normally happen during term time.
Leaving the holidays on a high for me as a business owner, mother, teacher and domestic is about preparation and reflecting. Preparing for home schooling, more working and partly about recognising the special times together. Here I have learnt what can make things run a little smoother:
Planning – Whether holiday or school time we spend 5 minutes the night before to talk through what will be happening tomorrow. What will be the exercise we will be doing, when will we have our togetherness (see below) and what space (see below) do we need for all of us to have a great day. It is a starting point for a little scaffolding for the day.
Doing – What doing time have we had today? And what doing time have we planned for tomorrow? When I mean doing time I mean the actual writing, number crunching, reading or activity that is doing (not just thinking). This often comes out of planning.
Making – Making things is good for us all. It exercises our mental health muscle whether cooking, artwork, modelling or building a camp in the house / garden. We tend to use anything from the ‘would be’ rubbish, Airfix models or bits of material we have. Planting the odd seed and watch them grow (beware your kitchen may become a greenhouse too). The fruit of the holiday have been plentiful.
Exercise – We know that Nelson Mandela, Terry Waite and John McAvoy all benefitted from exercise when they had little space to live in. In fact it kept them going. It is good for us mentally and physically. I try where possible to start my day (usually before people get going) to get in some exercise. It might be a run, a HITT routine from Youtube or a walk. For my children it might be doing a Joe Wicks routine, going for a run / bike ride together or delighting their mother with company on a walk.
Togetherness – There are the times we are doing things together. The playing of cards the completing of a jigsaw puzzle and one or two games of snakes and ladders. Trying new recipes out like hot cross buns (yes we used the remaining bread flour in the house). Blessed with good weather we have taken the opportunity now and again to go for for the odd walk, learn new skills like photography and filming.
Gratitude – Sharing daily what we have been grateful for, what we have given to someone one and what someone has done for us. It helps to broaden our mindset of what has been happening. It puts a new twist on what the holidays (and life) have been all about.
Space – Space is becoming increasingly important. We are working out when people need time on their own. What space can be used for what whether it is working, learning, puzzles, screens, reading or escaping. Creating boundaries in the space around us and noting that it may be work space now then later relaxing space. It is just what is in our hands that defines what it is.
Some of you are back at school / work others may have more time. Reflecting on the different type of holidays and what memories we have from these opportunities allows us to finish holidays on a high.