How To Stop And Smell The Flowers Without Sneezing – Sue Lester
You’ve had a busy year and deserve a break to recharge your batteries. Are you one of the many who find holidays end up being more trouble and work than they are worth?
There are 4 clear steps for you to get what you need:
Value yourself. Be Organised. Delegate. Maintain Your Boundaries.
1. Value Yourself: Ever wondered why you end up doing everything yourself? Is it your self esteem or self worth telling you stories, “Be nice or others won’t like you.”, “It’s a woman’s role.”, “Sacrifice yourself for others. “ “Other’s needs are more important than yours.” Or is it the need for control/perfectionism/or impatience, “Oh for goodness sake I’ll do it.“
Be clear why you are taking this holiday and what you want to get out of it – how you want to be feeling at the end of it. True family holidays cater to the needs of everyone, and kids learn from seeing their parents claim their
‘my time’, and ‘our time’. Expect respect.
2. Be Organised. Make lists then diarise tasks, create operational manuals or steps to follow for work colleagues. Do not give them your holiday contact details ‘just in case’. If it is your business, by all means, but be clear it is for genuine emergencies e.g. fire, tsunamis only. You have chosen and trained your staff well and can trust them to make sensible decisions in your absence.
Before your holiday, include pre-booking/arranging anything specific for your holidays, including ‘my time’. Discuss as a family the new rules for the family holiday game. Perhaps a general mud map routine for the day such as: Beach in the morning for everyone, solo activities in the afternoon reading etc, and family games after the evening meal. Have special activities e.g. theme park visit, designated for certain days and this cuts the nagging as children know they won’t miss out.
Help the children plan out what activities they’ll do in their spare time. E.g. craft, toys, books, ensure that’s bought and packed. If children don’t expect you to be entertaining them, or going out every day to theme parks, you’ll avoid the ‘I’m bored’. If sleeping in is important to you, teach your kids to tell the time so they know when to expect you to appear, and how to make their own breakfast e.g .cereal & milk, fruit, if they get hungry in the meantime. Have a Door Closed Policy – do not interrupt, or at the least, knock and wait.
3. Delegate. It’s actually your duty to delegate as it gives others the opportunity to learn, stretch and grow.
Idea is not that you work your butt off leading up to holidays then come back to all of your work left undone. Be clear about what definitely needs to be done, and what, if any could be done if squeezed in. Leave clear written instructions, and a support back-up person. By all means take your work phone with you if you must, but leave it turned off, and leave the recharger at home. Likewise, if you feel you really must do work on your holiday, designate a time on a specific day later in the week, and only do that, if you remember.
The idea is also not that you spend your holidays doing all the cooking, cleaning, running kids around you do normally. Decide it’s not your job, the cook/cleaner/chauffeur have gone on leave, and let them do it their way (age permitting!). So what if it’s not done to your super standard? You are on holidays – relax! Play! Enjoy not doing, and encourage them to learn, and continue when you get home!
4. Value Yourself – set and keep boundaries. People are used to you making their lives easier for them, so there will be resistance to you having a holiday. Set your boundaries, value yourself and your need to recharge. Point out to family that if you don’t have a rest and some fun, you’ll get overtired and grumpy, and won’t be able to work as well when you go back to work. Would they rather you cooked for them during the week, or on holidays?
Value others too – acknowledge their support and efforts. Encouragement and appreciation will be remembered next holiday!
One last tip to ensure you enjoy your holiday. Although you may think holidays is the ideal opportunity to sort out all those burning marital issues, please set yourself up for success and make it a rule to NOT discuss such matters until you’ve both been on holidays for 7 days. It takes that long to start winding down, and you are more likely to have a receptive audience. Happy Holidays!