Who goes on holidays in mid November? Isn’t it too busy? Too many commitments in November (the new December), too many end of year deadlines looming, finals for sporting teams, end of school events. Plus now’s the time to get all your New Years Eve commitments achieved (because they’d slipped from your mind mid year) – and get everything spick and span for a fresh new year. November’s busy! Surely this is the worst time to try and take a break?
That’s what we thought too. Ideally, we would have had a holiday earlier. For various reasons, that didn’t happen this year. So, instead, my husband, two kids and I spent last week in the Northern NSW coastal town of Yamba. And it was the best thing we could have done.
Here’s my five main reasons why a holiday now can be just what you need:
It’s a circuit breaker
It’s easy to get caught up in the busyness – agreeing to do more and more. Sometimes I know I do this for the wrong reasons. I feel obliged, or guilty, or too busy to think about whether it’s practical to add another item to the ‘to do’ list – so I say yes. And then struggle to juggle everything.
Going away on a holiday (rather than travel) is a great way to halt this craziness. Sure, you can still be involved from a distance, however a lot of things that turn out to be less important are dropped from the pile. And that’s a relief.
Did I say we went on holiday? In other words, we were not travelling or touring.
We were based in the one place. We walked most places. We stayed within about a five km range of our apartment. We were about 100m from the main beach, and a short walk into town.
We were not rushed, but nor were we bored, as we occupied ourselves with:
• Wandering along the beach, through the town, around the river district and to the lookouts
• Swimming – both in the pool and sea. Lots of body surfing (sort of), a lot of surf play and pool games
• Making and creating – sand castles, tunnels, photographing,
• Exercising – along with the swimming and walking, we took advantage of the tennis court where we were staying for a daily match, rode bikes, and so on.
• Reading – a lot
• Sleeping – a lot (including getting to bed earlier)
A different beach – great for digging and making sand creations
This reinforced how it’s easier to want to eat more healthily when I’m rested and my body isn’t feeling stiff and sore from lack of movement. And so my diet improved (also the fact it was harder to have a sneaky snack helped as well). In turn, better food, and lots of water helps with sleep and exercise. They fed off each other (boom boom).
This was true for us all – including my eleven and eight year old children, who found the break during a very long term really refreshing.
It provides the opportunity to reconnect
We had time together – time that wasn’t rushed, time that wasn’t diluted by bad moods caused by distractions, or lack of energy, or frustrations.
And you know what? We had a lot of fun together, just the four of us. My husband and I learned more about what was going on in our kids’ lives, and in their minds, because we had time to listen – to give them the chance to talk when they were ready or to demonstrate without talking (sometimes the best insights come through listening to my kids talking and playing with each other). We didn’t feel the need to jump in with solutions – we had the space to let what was important be expressed within their own time. Our kids squabbled a lot less too (funny that).
Word puzzles over lunch
Plus – our kids had enough time with us (one on one and together) to feel happy to play on their own, with other kids in the communal areas, or finding their own entertainment early in the morning – giving us some space. So we had time together – not just late at night, when we are falling asleep. This was so valuable for so many reasons.
It provides time for reflecting
It’s so easy nowadays to think you need to have a viewpoint on so many things. This could be just me – but I don’t think so.
The problem with thinking this is we (or at least, I) form these views without necessarily knowing enough details or facts to decide:
a) what I really believe and
b) whether it’s actually important that I get involved. Does it matter?
And then I find I can get caught up in an argument – online, in person, or in my head. I find myself arguing with what I’m reading, watching or listening to – sometimes directly, or sometimes in my head (or to my husband, or any other unfortunate soul who is nearby at the time).
It’s not uncommon for me to want to backtrack because I then find out more facts and change my view, or I find myself engaged in something that’s not important. I’ve added fuel to an unnecessary fire. In some cases, it’s a distraction from more important matters.
I found real advantages, even with a week away, in separating myself from pressure to be involved in too many things. I loved having space to observe, to read, to wander, and to think – without needing to respond straight away.
I feel clearer and cleaner in my mind. I feel more able to re-prioritise where my focus is directed.
This outcome can’t be underrated, especially if you’re someone (like me) who likes to start planning for the year ahead. Plus, those end of year things still need to be done – I can approach them now more effectively.
You’re able to experience a beautiful place – off peak!
We visited the beautiful, quiet town of Yamba while it was quiet. I’m not sure the experience would have been quite the same during the summer holidays (or the spring holidays, for that matter). We often had places to ourselves.
Yamba town centre
The weather happened to be wonderful – sunny, and warm enough for shorts and swimming every day (which was certainly not the case in Melbourne).
Going against the flow can be a good thing, sometimes. And we know we’ll be back!
How are you managing the end of year rush?
And what do you love most about holidays?