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 A vacation is like love – anticipated with pleasure, experienced with discomfort, and remembered with nostalgia. ~ Author Unknown

This sounds like a bitter sweet experience. Not many of us can come back from a holiday and can truthfully say that we enjoyed every minute of it. We might have had some wonderful days but some awful experiences with holiday companions of our children or being let down by someone special at the last moment.

As the holiday approaches there is a lot of anticipation for a wonderful break. It is essential though that you are well organised and prepared whether you stay at home or go away.

  • Finish off at work
  • Nothing is worse than a messy desk and undone tasks on your return. Don’t think that you are leaving them behind. The clutter on your desk will remain on your mind and prevent you from relaxing body and soul.
  • You are burnt out, tired and cannot actually concentrate on one more issue, but this has to be done so that you can ease your way back into the tasks when you come back.
  • Clear your desk.
  • Make sure that colleagues and clients know whom to contact.
  • Delegate, and trust the person to run with the responsibility.
  • Switch on your automated out of office reply.
  • Make a couple of notes on where you will have to pick up when coming back.
  • Close the door and leave physically and mentally.

Holidays @ home

You might not be so fortunate to spend holidays away and need to make do with a break at home, but that does not mean that it can not be special and provide an opportunity to create a lifetime of special memories.

Decide what you want out of your holidays. Set goals for things that you want to achieve. Do not get caught up in the normal day to day activities, like gardening, decluttering and revamping your home, slaving over a hot stove, etc. This might leave your children or partner feel neglected. Think of yourself and of the rest of the family. You need the break, not only from work, but also from the normal day to day activities and responsibilities. Take only a couple of days to do the things that need to be done or get some help in to get the projects done sooner. Do things that you would, as if you were away on holiday.

  • Plan daily outings or activities in advance.
  • Discuss expectations and rules for the holiday period. Ask for input from everyone.
  • Make it clear that you are not going to be a child minder for everyone else. Cut down on times for friends coming over, sleeping over, coming along on daily activities, this is the time for you to find yourself and to come into touch with those near and dear to you.
  • Get a guide or check the internet for activities that are available in your area.
  • Determine entry times and entrance fees at venues to avoid disappointment.
  • Keep a surprise up your sleeve.
  • Don’t over schedule. Be flexible.
  • Get some help. Get an aupair to come in for a couple of days to keep the children occupied or take turns with your friends to look after and entertain the kids.
  • Plan to have some free time each day so that each family member can do their own thing: whether it’s reading, playing with their favorite toys, listening to music, sleeping, cuddling or relaxing. Enjoy the security and warmth of home and family.
  • Get up a little later.
  • Eat a special breakfast or brunch with the family.
  • Keep more flexible bedtimes.
  • Have food and cool drinks easily accessible, so that you don’t need to get up and serve everyone just as you get to the nail biting part in your book.

Run out of ideas of what you could do?

  • Have a picnic in your garden or a park.
  • Visit a museum, a zoo, theatre or ballet.
  • Go to a concert.
  • Book a class that you always wanted to attend.
  • Watch a live game.
  • Try something new, e.g. hobby, either with your child or someone special.
  • Go for walks.
  • Read, paint or sculpt.
  • Comb the dog / stroke your cat.
  • Start a veggie patch, or a herb tub on your balcony
  • Dance or sing – listen to music.
  • Bake cookies, make a special meal.
  • Invite friends around.
  • Let the family help with household chore or teach them a new one.
  • Have or visit a puppet show with the children.
  • Have a facial or a massage.
  • Meet your friend for coffee or a movie.
  • Put together your children’s school albums with their help using photos, certificates, special drawings and one example of outstanding work. Teach them that one cannot keep everything and encourage them to make decisions.
  • Declutter memory boxes. Be ruthless.
  • Get take-aways.
  • Eat at a restaurant.

Enjoy every moment. Capture the special times on camera, as you would when being away on holiday.

A few days before your holiday ends – Ease everyone back gently into the normal routine.

I wish you a wonderful break with time to reflect and rejuvenate. Hope that you will look back in nostalgia over the following years on a great holiday and time spent wisely with those you love. Those of you that still need to go to work each day take each activity and each day at a time and do it as best as you can until your holiday comes around.

Heidi Meyer

Professional organiser

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