With the end of year holidays fast approaching many of us are thinking ‘yes, a break at last!’. Covid 19 has certainly offered up its share of stresses for working families in 2021, and particularly parents and carers attempting to balance work and care commitments with the addition of home-schooling whilst working from home.
Even if this wasn’t your situation, balancing work and care in the midst of a pandemic hasn’t been easy, even if it’s just basic self-care.
For many, the end of year holiday period can leave us feeling more exhausted, particularly if we are pushing the limits to be constantly entertaining the kids, extended family and friends. Whilst it is definitely enjoyable to catch up with one another and maximise the activities on offer, it is equally important to use this time to rest, reflect and prepare for the new year.
If you have typically found the holiday season tiring, guess what? It doesn’t have to be. Making a few simple adjustments can deliver a big amount of change.
Here are some of our top tips for parents and carers to start 2022 fresh and energised:
1. Ditch the obligation – so many of us feel like we have to do the party circuit over the festive season, particularly when it involves family. Ditch the feelings of obligation and instead consider what time you and your immediate family need together.
2. Resist the urge to splurge – this time of year is known to be a danger zone when it comes to over-indulging and it’s good to be ‘on it’ from the beginning. Be it too much rich food or alcohol, or too many late nights, these can all leave us feeling less than amazing the next day. Imagine starting the new year on the front foot when it comes to your health.
3. Rest – give yourself the space these holidays to rest and reflect upon what has and hasn’t worked for you in 2021, and what you might like to do differently in the new year. This doesn’t have to be done in any critique or be about setting unrealistic ‘New Year’s Resolutions’, but rather it can be a simple observation and gentle ‘note to self’ of what you might like to see change. Examples may include
- I’d like to stress less about work
- I’d like to be more consistent with exercising in my day
- I’d like to communicate more lovingly with my partner
- I’d like to be more present with my children
- I’d like to eat healthier
Consider what is needed for you to put these changes in place and go easy on yourself. Rome wasn’t built in a day as they say.
4. Connect – make this time and the people you share it with about the quality you connect in. Listen, be present, be attentive and respond. There is always more we can learn about ourselves, our partners, children, friends and colleagues when we are willing to be truly present with them.
5. Exercise – of course there is nothing quite like exercise and moving the body and especially when it’s done outdoors. If you are in the Southern Hemisphere, get out and enjoy the sunshine! Take the family, a friend, or just yourself for a long walk, swim, or game of beach cricket!
6. Prioritise Sleep – The focus need not be so much on the amount of sleep as it could be on the quality. What we do in the hours leading up to bedtime has a huge impact on the type of sleep we have. You could observe what particular activities, foods, beverages, conversations etc that you do in the lead up to sleep have on how you feel when you wake up. e.g. you could try getting yourself to bed after tucking the kids in and see how this makes you feel the next day.
Following these simple tips could make all the difference coming into 2022!