As we get ever nearer to the end of another school year, I am already thinking about the holidays and what that means to us.
The summer holiday will involve lots of “Mum, can I?”, “Mum, please”, followed by “Mum, it’s not fair” and let’s throw in more than a few “Mum, he/she is annoying me” and of course, the old faithful “Mum, I’m bored”.
The summer holiday will involve having to have some type of routine but one that works for everyone, not just one child or sadly, not just for me.
I also know that as the holidays progress, my work output tends to decline (or stop). As my work output declines, my to do list increases, along with my anxiety.
So I am prepping ahead and thinking of ways I can get some work/family balance in that time.
However, I know I also need to fit some me time in there. Some treats to make me smile. This started me thinking about how we treat ourselves. Do we treat ourselves? How do you treat yourself?
I started to write a list of things I class as treats – new book, new miracle face cream, spa day, lunch at Wagamama and then I thought how these all involved funds. As my work output in the summer holiday declines, so does my disposable income, sadly.
Do treats need to cost anything?
So I came at it from a different perspective. What things made me smile? What made me feel happy? More importantly, do treats have to cost anything? I soon realised there is a list of things that make me smile and don’t cost a penny (or not much).
- The smell of freshly ground coffee
- The smell of fresh ginger
- The smell of fresh coriander.
- A playlist of songs from the 80’s.
- Looking through an old photo album
- Visiting the library
- Mooching around Waterstones
- Mooching around Paperchase and Staples
- Sitting with a cold/hot drink on the beach just watching the sea
- People watching at the local shopping centre (my daughter and I can spend hours doing this – pick out a random stranger, guess their name, guess why they are in town and what they will be doing later)
- Reading recipes and imagining I have a life where my family try new foods with gusto
- Watching my wedding video
- Catching up with a friend
- Re-arranging my bedroom
- Attempting to feng-shui my office
- Walking the dog
- Chatting to my hubby
- Watching one of my many stand up comedian DVDs
- Finding a new tip on becoming more organized, living mindfully, or improving a website
- Taking photos on my phone
- Watching inspiration videos on YouTube
- Pinterest of course
- Bookbub – daily email giving details of free books on ibook and kindle.
I could list many more but you get the idea.
What do you with this list?
Take a tip from Gretchen Rubin’s latest book “Better than before”. The book is about making and keeping new habits but there in the book is a chapter called “Just because”. A chapter solely focussed on giving yourself a menu of treats to choose from.
Gretchen advocates using this menu to treat yourself, not as a reward for being good or for an achievement, but “just because”.
Gretchen believes that “if we give more to ourselves, we can ask more of ourselves”. When we don’t treat ourselves, we start to feel resentful or angry. I know that over the holidays, I will have times when I resent my husband going to work. I will share that I have even referred to his going to work as “swanning off to see his mates” – yes I can be that petty, resentful and self pitying in the middle of a 7 week school break.
Feeling resentful and angry stops us being productive and can lead us to reverting to negative habits to deal with that resentment and anger.
I love my kids and I love their personalities and sense of humour and I know how lucky I am to have three children and a supportive husband. However, during long holidays, I sometimes feel as if I lose me, the person.
So now, I have plans.
Treating Myself: One evening a week, I will remove myself once hubby arrives home. I will head to the beach and sit there for an hour with a fresh cup of coffee listening to some podcasts. This ticks off three treats in one for me. It feels slightly decadent, a real treat and it’s cost is fairly low. If it is raining, I will sit in the car at the beach.
The cost is just the fuel to get to the beach (only 10 minutes from my door), I bring the coffee from home, and the podcasts are free.
I know that from experience, just being out of the house for 1.5 hours, can feel like a week’s break. I usually return feeling totally recharged.
Work Life: This year has seen me using a variety of techniques from the Bullet Journal to stay on top of things to do and also me stepping away from some activities and saying no to others. So I am more hopeful than usual that I will be able to sustain some work life without it having a major impact on the most important thing.
Family Life: We now have an amazing Personal Assistant for the boys and she will be a great asset to all of us over the holidays. Having an extra adult means we can visit the beach, go swimming, go to the woods, even shopping trips. It means the kids can spend time in the pool at home with supervision while I clean the house without feeling guilty.
Having the quality me time and not feeling stressed about work also means my family are happier because I am happier.
What are you waiting for?
So, go on, write yourself a list of treats. Pin it on the fridge or next to your bed and then, USE IT. Treat yourself.
If you have real difficulty in using the word “treat”, then think of it as an essential “to do”.
Doing these little things for yourself will benefit your family. If you don’t believe me, ask my hubby and kids.