Tuesday 10th August 2021

Putting the ‘me’ into sum-me-r holidays….

Putting the ‘me’ into sum-me-r holidays….

Putting the ‘me’ into sum-me-r holidays….

If the summer holidays bring back dark memories of lockdown home schooling, or a realisation that your dream holiday to a far-flung destination is not going to happen this year, then what are you going to do to get through the summer period?

Elaine Needham, Board member of WISH Midlands and Director of Marketing, Communications and Realise charity at we are aspire, shares her thoughts on how to cope with having the children back in the house all day, and how to keep a healthy body and healthy mind with a busy working life.

If you’re reading this then you’re likely not jetting off, relaxing on a beach, hiking in the hills, or whatever you’d normally do on your summer holidays. But I am hoping you’ve got some time planned this summer to relax and take a break from work.

As I’m writing this, I’ve returned from a two-week trip to Cornwall with my husband and two children. A Cornish beach holiday as I remember having, so many, too many years ago to think about. But I feel refreshed, relaxed, and full of energy and enthusiasm to be back at work and drive our marketing, communications and charity work further again. That’s what excites me, doing more and making a difference for the customers and learners we serve.

I certainly wasn’t feeling this positive pre-holiday with the turmoil of the height of the pandemic, and everything that came with that. Which for me was a lot of juggling: work, home-schooling, and family commitments. But I want to keep this feeling that I have now. It’s happy and positive and surely so much better placed to do good work.

So, what will I do to keep my mind as fresh as it is, and bolster the coping mechanisms for a busy working life?

I’m thinking about me. Focusing time on me. And here are five things I’m doing right now:

  • Reading
    I started reading again on holiday, which unfortunately I’ve not made time for recently, and our team apprentice has introduced a ’15-minute reading’ slot in our diaries each week. I’m going to hang on to that and take that time to pick up a book and read – some time for me.
  • Exercise
    I definitely ate and drank too much on holiday – which is what holidays are for – right?! I’m going to stick to my pre-holiday regime of doing a HIIT Training session, a run, or a bike ride at least three times a week. That’s another way to make some time for me.
  • Taking breaks
    I’m going to manage my diary better to ensure I take a quick break in between meetings and have time for a walk at lunchtime. I know it makes me more productive and it’s good for my wellbeing.
  • Planning
    I’m planning ahead; holiday clubs to keep the kids busy, organising packed lunches and meals in advance, and I’m working around these things. My employer encourages flexible working so I’m working with it and staying out of the 9-5 bubble.
  • Be kind to myself
    If summer holidays have taught me anything it’s that time is the most valuable resource. Probably the thing kids want most – your time. So, when I’m working, if the kids spend a little more time on their devices than might be deemed suitable, or if they decide to watch back-to-back films one day, I’m going to be kind to myself. We all like to sometimes indulge in those things that aren’t great for us but it’s not every day. I’m going to ease up on myself and focus on all the good things, and not just the bad things. We all need to be a little more kind to ourselves.

So, whatever your summer looks like, be kind to yourself. The kids will do great. That dream holiday will come. It’s often the little changes we make that can accumulate to big differences. I’m mindful that I can’t keep my outlook the same as a bright sunny day every day, but if I focus on these things, make some time for me, whatever my mood, whatever my thinking, I will be as prepared as I can be to manage the situation I’m faced with next.

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