On our Facebook page over the past week we have been thinking about how we can make the forthcoming school holidays a time when the whole family can relax and enjoy really nourishing time together. How often have we looked forward to a one or two-week break for the first six months of the year, only to feel like we need a month off on our return?
There are many reasons why holidays don’t live up to expectations, but failures in the accommodation or travel plans aside, there are things we can do that make it more likely that everyone can come back refreshed and ready to take on the rest of the year.
Firstly, make sure you have all your travel plans to hand well in advance. Many arguments start in the car before the holiday destination is even reached but can be avoided by making sure paperwork is to hand, routes planned and money for tolls in the glove compartment. Don’t travel when you are tired, but if you can start early to avoid the jams, it can make the trip so much less stressful.
Secondly, if you can take a day off work to pack it can reduce the last-minute panic that can cause arguments. If you can’t do that, start packing the week before and get the whole family involved, ensuring they choose what needs to be clean in time to get it washed and dry.
Thirdly, leave work behind. If you have to take work with you, limit the amount of time you are on your laptop; agree to have the phone on only during agreed times of day. You cannot expect your holiday companions to feel relaxed with you there on your Blackberry half the time.
Fourthly, relaxing immediately will be difficult, especially if you have children with you, so wind down gently in the first couple of days with some energy-filled activities to avoid the mood swings associated with a drop in adrenaline.
Lastly, if you are travelling with children remember it is your time they will value, not the cultural trips you organise. If you are a couple travelling without kids for a break, don’t feel guilty and make the most of your time alone together; it will make your family unit all the stronger.
So relax and enjoy. If plans go awry , go with the changes and remember to be mindful every day. It will make the time go more slowly as you savour every moment….