It’s the last day of term for everyone who hasn’t finished term already, so let your holidays begin! How will you use them well? My suggestion is a mental wellbeing reset, for you and your families.
That it’s been a tough year is an understatement which doesn’t need to be stated. Only you, as parents and teachers, can know what it has taken out of you. And now is your chance to replenish your well of wellbeing. It’s not just a chance – I think it’s essential. You need to look after yourselves before you can look after others.
So, how to use the holiday well?
The first few days need no structure. Just go with the flow. If you want to sleep late in the morning, do it, even though that’s not normally the best advice and not what I advise in The Awesome Power of Sleep. But you can do it now, just for 2-4 days. If you want to tidy your cupboards, do it. If you want to eat ice-cream, do it. If you want to do nothing, do it.
You might feel unwell during these few days, headachey, out of sorts, dissatisfied. It’s OK. Everything is OK. That’s your body starting to relax.
Then, make a list
What would you like to do this holiday? Your list should have a mixture of big and small, useful and indulgent, but they should all be things you’ll be happy you’ve done. They are your goals, if you want to call them that. But they don’t all have to sound like achievements.
Make sure the things on your list are “SMART”. There are a few different interpretations of SMART goals but I use:
- Specific – not vague. So, “Go for a walk once a day” rather than “walk more”
- Measurable – “Go for a walk once a day” is measurable – you know if you’ve achieved it
- Achievable – Don’t set yourself up for failure. I go running but I know that running 5 days a week is something I’d be most unlikely to manage. So that wouldn’t be smart.
- Relevant – If you don’t think being a poet is up your street, don’t ask yourself to write a poem every day.
- Timed – As with “measurable”, this is important because you know exactly what you’ve got to do. “Practise piano/gymnastics for 45 minutes four times a week” is smarter than “Practise piano/gymnastics” four times a week.
Here are some ideas you might include on your list (but reword them to be SMART.) But just pick the ones you want – don’t make your list too long! You can just have one or two things, if you want. It’s a holiday!
- Activity and fresh air
- Keeping in touch with friends
- Visiting a place you’ve never been
- Trips to favourite places
- Reading for pleasure
- Starting a new hobby – or keep going with an old one
- Make something
- Household repairs or decorating?
- Something to build knowledge?
- Dealing with a problem you’ve been putting off
- Learning to cook something new
- Looking after your body, skin, hair
- Having FUN
The Table of Wellbeing
My Table of Wellbeing model is a four-legged table, representing the essentials of food and water, exercise, sleep and relaxation. We have to look after all four, otherwise our overall wellbeing collapses. You can’t afford to ignore any one of them.
© Katherine Lynas 2019So, do an audit of your four legs. What needs a boost? How will you do it?
Enjoy healthy screen use
It’s OK for you (and your family) to have fun with screens as much as you want. But bear in mind this simple advice:
- Don’t let it prevent the right amount of sleep, physical activity and face-to-face chat.
- Keep an eye on body and mind and if you feel screen use is making you feel physically or mentally bad, walk away and do something else.
- That’s all
But as the holiday comes to an end you’ll need to develop some strong and healthy behaviours for you and your family. How will you do that? What will your family policy be? What science will it be based on? How will you get your teens on board?
The answers are all in my webinar for parents and professionals: Teens and Screens on Aug 18th 7pm BST! A few earlybird tickets still available – hurry! You’ll learn all you need to know to prepare for the new school year and build good steps towards self-control for life. I know the science and will bust the myths while giving you sensible strategies that are important for all ages.
What if you don’t like any of that advice?
Don’t follow it! It’s your holiday and you can do what you like with it. However, I happen to think it’s pretty good advice. It’s what I’d be doing.
Have a wonderful, healthy, relaxing, boosting holiday and may your mind and body bounce back beautifully from the strains of the last year. Grab every happy moment, enjoy every ice-cream, love every ray of sunshine. It’s all yours.
ACTION to kick-start your holiday: