I’m back and feeling very relaxed. At least I was, until I saw the bills piled up in my inbox, and all the work emails started flooding in. But you know, I’m privileged to have work, so I’m counting all my lucky blessings, drinking down my (slightly gross) healthy smoothie and getting stuck into everything again.
While I tackle my inbox I’ve been thinking about how I finally cracked the whole “relaxing holiday” mission. Because often you go away, and you end up returning more frazzled than when you left. So here are some things that worked for me this holiday, while they’re still fresh in my mind.
How to Have a Relaxing Holiday 101:
- Do not go missioning around. Drive somewhere and stay there for a decent amount of time. Unpack your suitcase, hang up your clothes and settle in.
- Travel when other people don’t – this is harder to do if you don’t work for yourself, I appreciate that. But try leave a day or so after the schools break up, and return home a few days before school starts. The roads will be much less congested.
- Visit a destination where there is no traffic whatsoever, and no issue with parking. And where every errand takes 5 minutes, at the most. Karoo towns are good for this. Or coastal spots in the Eastern Cape (especially in winter!).
- Buy a tracksuit and wear it most days – preferably a snuggly one. Pair with warm and fuzzy slippers. Only remove this outfit if you are going to the beach (and then swap slippers for being barefoot).
- Buy a 1000-piece puzzle, stick it on the dining room table and watch how everyone gathers around it, chats and gets stuck in (this amazing one was from Toy Kingdom).
- Go on outings without your phone. Yes, there may be a picture you miss snapping, but someone will have a phone and can send that picture to you. And even if they don’t, think how much more you’ll get to enjoy that moment without worrying about how to capture it.
- Leave most of your make up at home. Take your moisturiser, your sunscreen, a lip balm and just chill with your bare face and crinkly eyes open for the world to see.
- Don’t stress about catering. I’ve realised that I’m a feeder, because it’s my way of showing love. But outsource that stuff when you’re on hols – get everyone to help. Have a few good salads you can throw together. Buy lots of seasonal fruit. Boil some eggs in the morning. Let everyone eat some biscuits and cheese. They’ll be fine. And you’ll have much more time to spend just chilling out.
- Do a crossword (you can find them at the back of many glossy magazines, or buy a crossword book). Yes I know, I am actually 75.
- Get some books out of the library. Read them. Put your laptop in a drawer to be used for emergencies only. Or better still, leave it at home.
- Take Twitter and Facebook off your phone (but not Instagram, because it makes me happy). Check in with your state of mind, and notice how not constantly reading the news positively impacts your happiness.
- Drink wine. But not too much. And then the next morning, put your tackies on, go for a run and clear out those cobwebs.
- Stretch! Take along a yoga mat (or just use a towel), and every morning get your partner/family to watch the kids, find a quiet space and give yourself 10 minutes to stretch, meditate, or just “be”.
- Have a few outings planned but also make time to do nothing: Lie in a hammock. Stare up at the sky. Listen to the birds. See the stars.
- Play “piggy in the middle” with your kids. Play Uno with them. Let them help with the puzzle. Cook a simple meal together. Out of everything, they’ll remember getting your undivided attention more than anything else.
And finally, ensure that your children are 3 or 4-years-old, or older. I’m sure that there are some parents who can have relaxing holidays with toddlers and babies in tow, but I was certainly not one of them! Disrupted sleep, little routine and a new environment always made holidays stressful when I was a new mom, but lately, with the kids growing up, they’ve been getting so much more relaxed. If you’re currently in the thick of this, know that family holidays will get easier, I promise.
That’s it – we’re all different, and recharge in different ways, but this is what worked for me this time round. Better get back to that inbox!