Last week I took a few days off work, and I didn’t go anywhere, instead I did a staycation. Why? Well it’s because of a lesson I learnt 2 years ago. It was autumn and I had just experienced my worst SAD. To say I was low would be an understatement. I was crying on my way to work without knowing why and it was freaking me out.
One of the reasons I believed my SAD was so strong that year was because I hadn’t taken a holiday in over 6 months. As parents me and my parents careful share our holidays to supplement for child care when school is shut and keep a few days back for ‘just in case’ days (like if she gets ill or I’d like to watch her in a school play)
On top of this I have a strong work ethic and didn’t believe in taking holidays unless I HAD TOO! However, this was not impressing anyone and was also making me ill. So, one day when I found myself crying in the work loo for the umpteenth time I decided to take a few days off. And the lessons that I learnt from this have stayed with me.
- My career did not fall apart: My boss was not furious at me for taking some time and it helped me put my job back in the correct prospective, also when going back to work I would find I had missed it a little and had renewed energy for it-which can only be beneficial. Some colleagues can be a little confused as to my reason. ‘No, I was not going abroad’. ‘No, it wasn’t for a special occasion’. ‘I just wanted to hang out with my family and friends and get a little chill out time’. But all in all, most people either didn’t care (being caught up in their own drama) or completely got it!
- It gave me the time to regroup: On my days off my main goal is to allow myself the time and space to sit in an empty house to think and write. About what I want, how far I have come, what obstacles are in my way and reset my goals. This is very beneficial for me as I often don’t see when I’ve strayed from my path and once I do I find it twice as long to get back. This is usually because I’m also trying to be a mum, partner, employee, daughter, sister, friend etc. So, to be in a place where I’m not being asked to make conversation or answer to the ‘mum’ every 5 minutes means I can really think.
- The weight is lifted. Another of my problems is I often don’t see when I’m stressed or if I do I think I can just shake it off, do a few minutes of yoga or meditation or go for a walk round the park. And although these do help in the short term there is nothing like having a few days of allowing yourself to breath, watch the birds eat from the feeder, potter around your home in your pj’s and catch up on your favorite crime drama to help you fully relax.
- I spent real time with the people I love. During these days I get to have real conversations with my partner. Rather than the quick hour chat after work as to how each other’s day has been and remind each other of chores we need to do. We get to be quiet together, mule over our deep aspirations and laugh at the silliness of life. While with my daughter I get to see more of her (and who wouldn’t love that) On my last holiday I got to take my daughter to school for the first time, something I had not done before. It felt odd to be with all the full-time parents but lovely to be able to be part of that life for a while.
- It’s cheap and cheerful. During these stay-cations me and my partner make the time to do at least 2 days out. We go to the zoo or beach or drive to the countryside. I do miss seeing the world, but I know as a family we are also learning more about our own country, increasing our appreciations for it and its helping us save for a better future.
Since learning this lesson 2 years ago I know try and take a break as often as I can (a few days every month or so really helps) and I cant see me breaking this habit any time soon.