My winter holiday has officially started! I have been dreaming about it for the past two months, but been so preoccupied with commitments towards my children, work, myself and my husband that I haven’t had the chance to STOP and plan how I will actually spend my long-awaited holiday. Our tickets are already booked and we fly in two days, just no holiday itinerary yet. As I drink my morning coffee during my first off-day, I am writing how I plan to spend my time as best as possible. This is my advice to myself:
1. ‘DO NOT think about work commitments during your break. Have a To-Do list ready for when you are back after the New Year because it will help you get started and go back to being focused on the first day you are back in your office.’ My former as well as my current supervisors have asked me to set an annual goal for myself which is to “WORK LESS”. So, this is a great opportunity to prove that I can achieve my goal, and truly ‘disengage’ from my endless commitments as a district level instructional coach and trainer. I wrote up my To-Do list yesterday and I am ready to disengage!
2. ‘Spend fun times with your children and just BE with them in every experience.’ What do my children like to see and do during this season? My children like to play in the snow and ski—if the pistes are open, have a tea party with Santa (my little one is still a believer!), join in some Christmas caroling, read Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’ (with me and their father), visit a winter theme park, eat—and over-eat—Belgian waffles (we are going to Belgium), go for nature walks in the forest or by the river Dyle and look for ‘Stick Man’ and four-leaf clovers, visit Christmas markets and indulge in delicious goodies, go ice skating in an outdoor rink, and snuggle in bed and have Belgian hot chocolate. For my children, these will be priceless moments!
3. ‘Spend tête-à-tête time with your husband—no children involved!’ Morning walks through the forest and by the Dyle, as well as romantic dinners are on my list.
4. ‘Take half days OFF, where you can just stay home, admire the view from your window (in my home, it’s morning snow covering the gardens!), read a good book, listen to some music and enjoy home-cooked meals.’ My children love to ‘chill’ and my husband LOVES to cook for us during holidays! So, it works for all.
5. ‘DO NOT to dwell on Facebook’. I will also urge my husband to not dwell on FB either! As for my children, who are obsessed with Minecraft and related Youtube channels, I will urge them NOT to dwell on those too—possibly by switching off the internet and telling them that there must be network connectivity issues! I would hate to be deceitful, though, but I will try to do it if I have to!
6. ‘Get together with friends.’ Being busy all the time with life commitments may take you away from socializing and from spending fun times with friends and people you care about. This is an opportunity to meet up with old friends, do some catching up, and make some new friends! Come on, do it!
7. ‘Visit a concert, ballet, or opera.’ My youngest constantly gives us a hard time when we plan to do this…but your children will thank you when they are older. Offer to do something else of their choice later when you finish the show. Stand your ground!
8. ‘Visit a couple of cultural landmarks in the area.’ Follow the same advice as number seven when it comes to childhood opposition!
9. ‘Take as many spontaneous pictures as possible, as well as short videos, of yourself and your family.’ You will LOVE watching them later to keep those memories alive!
10. ‘Laugh as much as possible and do not let yourself be uptight in any way.’ I will try to take up a ‘laissez-faire’ attitude! Research shows how laughter is the best medicine; it triggers the release of endorphins, which promote an overall sense of well-being. Moreover, life is all about these valuable moments with the people we love. These precious times fill our hearts and souls with love and happiness, charging us to pursue life, actualize our dreams, and live a satisfied life of peace, love and happiness.
From all my heart, I wish you all a WONDERFUL HOLIDAY!