|How to Have a Holiday on Your Holidays|
by Sally Hammond
'A day when you work twice as hard as you do when you are at the office'. That’s how someone once described a holiday! Many of us would agree. Unless we have been fortunate enough to go on a cruise or stay at a resort, we often breathe a sigh of relief when the holiday is over, and look forward to getting back to work, settling back into a routine, and perhaps at last having a break! We just try not to admit it, that's all.
Yet holidays are meant to relax and renew us. They are meant to give us the stress-free break needed so that we can face another eleven months of work. Psychologists tell us though, that holidays are often anything but that. Rather than a relief from stress, holidays rank No l3 on a rate of l-l00 which rates 'minor violations of the law' as 11, and 'trouble with boss' as 23.
So how can we enjoy our holidays? A lot depends on where we are going - and how. Overseas trips, while they may appear exotic, are often full of worries and strains we would not have had if we had gone to the beach at home. Passports, traveller's cheques, security, foreign language hassles, strange illnesses - worrying about these can take the shine out of the most glittering destinations. On the other hand, three weeks at the in-laws interstate can be just as traumatic. Here are a few ideas that may smooth the holiday break when it comes and send us back to work with a few less worry lines rather than more.
How about a holiday at home for a change? Some people do choose to stay at home for a number of reasons - money, children, family commitments, or just because they like to be at home. Home is the place where we can put our feet up and relax, be ourselves, with not a care in the world. Right?
WRONG! especially if you are the woman (or man) who never has enough time during the year to do all the things you want to do around the house. Unless we are careful, we may spend four weeks behind a lawnmower or a vacuum cleaner and be totally exhausted when it is all over. Or you and your partner may not agree about what makes a holiday at home. One of you may get into the spirit on Day One, and not get up from the lounge until the day before work begins again. The other will spend martyr-like weeks sighing and 'cleaning up'. Try these tips to compromise and enjoy a cheap, comfortable holiday at home to suit all parties.
l. Decide what you want to do. Make a list of all the places you want to go/jobs you want to carry out/ people you want to have over or visit. Unless you like to plan minutely, leave it at that and pick something new each day, as weather and inclination allows.
2. Agree as to who does what. If there are children, include them. Plan to share the chores - and the major assignments, if there are any. It is only fair that everyone does an hour in the garden or painting the fence one day so that all can then go out to the beach later. Or each person can help get the food for the barbecue ready so that everyone can relax when friends arrive.
3. Simplify. Cut down on extras. Buy convenience foods, send out for pizza, have takeaway. You would do that if you were away from home. Use paper plates and plastic cutlery. Forget ironing, and washing windows and cleaning the oven. You wouldn't do that in a motel! Employ a cleaner for a few hours a week. Even if you don't have one regularly during the year, the fact that you are at home doesn't mean you are automatically on cleaning duty.
4. Pretend that you're not there. Turn on the phone-answerer if your work is following you home. Treat the house as a hotel - do a minimum of tidying up each morning, then take off for the day - the beach, the mountains, shopping, sightseeing - whatever you would do if you were visiting the area. Bring food home for tea, kick your shoes off and watch a video. Then go to bed in your own comfortable bed - no worries that you won't sleep as well as you might if you were away from home.
5. Send the family away and stay home - just you and your partner. Depending on the age of the children this is far preferable to going away and leaving the children home - as any parent of teenagers, who has done it can tell you! Your house stays intact and you can enjoy all the romance you need without interference. Moonlight walks, intimate dinners, dancing till dawn - and then return to your own bed.
There are advantages in staying home on a holiday. You save money; you don't have to worry about getting someone to mind the house, collect the mail, feed the cat; you are not battling holiday traffic plagued by a backseat full of quarrelsome children; and your accommodation is already booked!
Go on - take a break - at your place!
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