I was talking to a Mom of two teen girls the other day, and she confessed that she was DREADING the holiday trip she had planned. It was supposed to be a great getaway for her and her husband and the kids, but now she realises that this is a HORRIBLE time of year for her kids because of their school work. Over the break they have projects to complete, and finals to write just a week after they get back home.
Are you in this situation?
Here’s the reality:
Everyone needs a break! We all need to learn how to switch gears so that we can rest and relax! This might seem like a luxury, but switching to low gear and learning to rest and relax is critical to our long-term health!
We need to set our teens up for success, so that when they’re adults, they know how to set aside their work at the end of the day. As adults, we have to learn how to set aside our work so that we can go on a holiday (even when the day-to-day operations of our job might still be going on without us!)
It takes SKILL to set aside our work, and TRUST that we’ll be able to cope when we get back to it again!
Here’s a 4 point plan to setting aside the work to that you and your teens can RELAX, and then come back to your work and school life feeling refreshed!
- Make a plan: Estimate the time it will take to complete the work (the project, the studying, whatever it is). Schedule in the time BEFORE your holiday, or AFTER your holiday. Get creative with your planning! You may have to give up watching t.v. for two days, or skip a pre-trip holiday party, but when you can prioritise your work AND your holiday time, all the “extras” really come into focus.
- Put the work away- physically! Get a large plastic bin, or your backpack, and physically pack away the textbooks, the binders, etc. Put a copy of your post-holiday work schedule on the top. Put a “Do not open until…” sign on it. This might sound silly, but the physical putting away can be a really great way of creating a concrete boundary on your work.
- Visualise: As you travel to your destination, whether by car or plane, imagine the thoughts of your work as string that physically connect you to it. Imagine your thoughts of work as string connecting you to the bin of work, and watch them stretch the further you travel. When you’re ready, imagine yourself cutting the strings of thoughts of your work, and with each snip of the strings, allow your body to release the tension of the thought. By the time you reach your destination, allow your body and mind to be in relaxation (or excitement, whatever is restorative to you!)
- Follow the plan! When you get home, unpack the box, and follow through with your plan! There’s no better way of developing your self-trust by creating a plan for yourself and following through!
Teens are following OUR lead. If we’re setting aside the work, putting boundaries on when and where we’re checking our e-mails, and committing to our self-care, our teens will believe us when we tell them that resting and relaxing are important!
Wishing you a restorative holiday season to set you up for success in 2018!