It’s that time of year again. Schools are breaking up except they kind of already did that didn’t they? The sun is shining (most days) and many people would usually be looking to take a break whether it be at home or away.

However……judging by the number of discussions I’ve had with clients and friends over the last couple of weeks, once again, the pandemic has thrown up a new perspective on holidays and particularly whether we need them/should take them? Where should we go? Is it safe to go away? If I do go away, where would be the safest? Can I afford to go away? Should I stay at home – I’ve just spent the last 4 months at home, do I really consider it a holiday staying there?

Ultimately, one of the subjects of discussion that has been on repeat with my clients is whether they feel they deserve one. This seems to be from those of us that had an extended period of time at home, with family (or not) during lockdown when on the whole the weather was glorious, a time we have never experienced in our working lives. We’ve “got things done” we’ve eaten food that has perhaps been luxurious because we’ve had time to cook properly, we’ve played games with our kids, we’ve taken time to read books, catch up on all those things that usually are reserved for time off work. Surely we’ve just had an extended holiday haven’t we?

Again, I feel like I need to state that I totally recognise that all the key workers, the parents home schooling, those continuing to work from home at the same level as they normally would, do NOT feel like they have had a holiday and indeed they haven’t. But here lies another dilemma for those procrastinating about their “need for a break” and that’s the guilt. Surely all those key workers, those amazing doctors and nurses working flat out, the people we consider the heroes of the pandemic, well they REALLY need a holiday. What are we moaning about, do we really need a break?

You’d be surprised the number of people that are weighing all these things up, spending an awful lot of time and energy justifying a decision that usually they would make at the drop of a hat!

So what do I think?

I think that the last few months have been exceptionally tough on so many both physically and mentally and I think that if you feel you need a break, you probably need a break and don’t need to be justifying it to anyone. A break doesn’t need to be an expensive getaway although there is nothing wrong with that if you can afford it and it’s what you need, it can be time out, a change of scenery, a change of company (albeit that’s slightly trickier right now). It’s a break from routine, a change in dynamic so that you are able to return to semi normal life and carry on.

Once again, be kind to yourself, take the time to figure out what you and yours need right now. If you can’t afford to or don’t want to go away then look at how you can make your time at home different? Here’s a few suggestions to make your staycation feel different from the norm;

  • Certainly put the out of office on the work email – if you’re taking time out, take time out. it will all be there when you get back.
  • reduce your social media hours – I suspect your screen time went up significantly during lockdown, maybe take this break to have a rest from constantly being on display?
  • Buy some treats, stock the freezer with ice creams, buy your favourite wine just indulge a little knowing that after the break it will be time to get back to that healthy(er) eating regime.
  • Have a bath in the morning or whenever the fancy takes you, treat yourself to a few home pampering items and enjoy some self care.

I’m sure you can think of many more, the most important thing is to take proper time out so that when it’s over, you can go back to everyday life feeling a little more refreshed and on top of things – that is allowed!

To all those desperate for a break, those who are on their knees from looking after us all, I wish you from the bottom of my heart that you get what you need.

Keep being kind and stay safe.