Ditch the guilt – why a holiday is good for you!

It’s Monday morning, the sun is shining and I’ve just got up, no nasty alarm, no crowded train. Yes indeed it is holidays and I feel good, as I knew I would. I’m not off anywhere exotic this Easter break but I will enjoy my free time as much as my travelling friends.

Let us consider the joys of holidays, why we need and deserve them (before the government whips them off us as well, or taxes us for them!!)

Sunday nights become blissful times of relaxation, devoid of that hunted feeling about Monday morning and what horrors may await you in the working week. Holidays give you back Sunday, so you enjoy the full benefit of the weekend.

The healing powers of the lie-in. Getting up in the dark doesn’t really have a lot going for it and even when the sun shines, Monday-Friday mornings are a blur of alarms, ablutions, abuse, angst as we race to work on crowded conveyers all hurtling towards our 8hour plus days. But the holidays releases us from that – we can choose to be up with the birds, or we can waste all day in bed, snoozing, reading, eating, watching telly. The lie-in gives you a smug sense of the world being balanced again.

You can travel to exciting places – anywhere on the Continent is convenient, even travail further, Egypt, the Caribbean, New York. You can stay closer to home, weeks in the country, by the sea, or a series of day-trips. It doesn’t matter how well lined your pockets you can get away. Getting away is good for your mind, it clears it out, lets you see the world anew, re-aligns the important bits.

The joy of travel is three fold – you look forward to the going, doing all the planning and arranging; you love being there and take lots of pix and buy your souvenirs; then when you’re home again you can indulge in happy chats about your holiday, pouring over your snaps, sharing your gifts.

You get away from your colleagues and the grind of work. Even though you may work in a wonderful place (lucky you, where is this place?) time away from office politics and intrigue is good for you. A break from business refreshes you, renews your energy and focus. You should return from your holiday a better employee, at least for a while!

Students – kids need their holidays. Amidst the renewed cries for less holidays, more term time, especially for those poor students who forget everything over the summer and aren’t fed properly (that does bear further examination, not just a passive acceptance of the truth of that assertion) and wouldn’t riot if in school, students need their holidays too. I have written before about education occurring outside of school, and the holidays are the classic case in point. India Knight (Sunday Times, April 1 2012) made mention of the joy of boredom, of kids finding their own things to do. I would add that kids need to be left alone to just be, to chill and not be told what they need to be doing all the time. The truth is many GCSE students aren’t just hanging about waiting for the next riots, they are at school doing intervention, or studying at home, or trying to rest up enough for the on-coming term of relentless exams. My particular GCSE student has 17 exams – she needs a break from school and from the circle of nagging and pressure she currently lives in. She needs to sleep more, got out with her mates, clean her room.

Teachers deserve their holidays. It is not an easy profession. Spending so much time in the company of children and teenagers and dealing with their plethora of needs is exhausting, emotionally as well as physically draining. Not to mention preparing, planning and the mountain of paper-work the English system thinks is essential to teaching – never mind the trees. If teaching was a simple 9-5 job then no, they can do without the ‘endless’ holidays. But it’s not, it’s challenging, exhausting and like no other job out there. The next time you have a rant about all those holidays, the lazy bastards, go and spend a week in your average classroom, see what happens in a school, realise that many teachers don’t get a break in their day, barely manage lunch and then do after-school clubs or meetings. Don’t you want your child taught by someone rested, revived and ready for the challenges of the term?

Holidays give you time to breathe again, to smell the roses, to do, to be, just as you choose. It’s time to catch up with chores around the house, to have lunch with friends, to be with your family, to spend a day reading.

Enjoy your holiday, you have deserved it. Rest, revive, re-create, do as much or as little as you want. But make sure you make the most of it. We’re at work a long time! (Images courtesy Private Collection)

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