2017 is in full swing. It literally feels as if we went straight from New Year to Mad Year because it feels like the working year never ended in 2016!
Noel didn’t have much of a break at the end of year because his colleagues had also taken time off, so he only had the week between Christmas and New Year, hardly a break to speak of. So when he fell ill a few weeks ago, it didn’t come as any surprise to me, because I saw it unfold. It was inevitable, because he works horrible hours, he doesn’t really get a chance to exercise or do things to relax and unwind and he barely gets a chance to eat when he is at work. This as you know, is a recipe for disaster.
That’s why I am an avid believer, that taking smaller breaks regularly throughout the year is far better for you and here’s why:
1. Our bodies need rest, exercise and good nutrition to function properly. Even if you have two thirds of this equation, your body still takes a beating and at some stage it will let you know that it cannot anymore. Taking smaller breaks throughout the year allows the body to take a much-needed vacation from the corporate hamster wheel. It allows your body to refuel and recuperate, so that it has energy stores to last until the next one. No-one can work an entire year without taking a break – our bodies are just not designed that way.
2. Taking regular breaks allows you and your family to make more memories.Regular breaks allows you to see different places each time, different surroundings, different things to do, different experiences and ultimately different and more memories. If you only take leave at the end of the year, yes, you might end up having 1000 photos, but chances are, it will most likely all be at the same place you chose to spend your holiday.
3. A change is as good as a holiday! That’s what they say and it cannot be more true. Small changes in routine, no matter how small like a few days away, helps to reframe the mind, body and the soul. Taking mini break aways from the monotony of everyday life, allows you to “breathe”. You are likely to be more productive at work, because your batteries have been recharged :).
4. Your kids will love you more… (lol)… just kidding. But jokes aside, I’m yet to find a child that doesn’t like to be away from home. Kids are bored easily and routine often frustrates them because their days are all about day-care or school, homework, a little bit of downtime or TV and then it’s meal and bath time and off to bed. By incorporating small getaways through the year, your kids have something to look forward to, instead of waiting the whole year until the Christmas break.
5. You can capitalise on public holidays. South Africa is one of few countries that has quite a few public holidays and they are so welcomed because we work so hard. Take advantage of the public holidays by taking leave the day before and after. This extends your break with a day or two at the expense of the government:). Look out especially for those public holidays that are just before or after a weekend.
6.Regular getaways tend to be cheaper. We all know that over the peak holiday season, establishments charge ridiculous prices. They capitalise off the tourists that flock to South Africa over the festive season to enjoy our sunny climate and all the rest that makes South Africa unique. This is great for business but really sucks for the locals. If you only take one big break at the end of the year, I guarantee you that you will end up spending far more on taking your family away for a few days, than if you went on mini vacays throughout the year. Especially in the cooler months, many places offer out of season rates and this usually equates to a considerable saving.
Your getaway should definitely have some activities planned but don’t forget to factor in some downtime. It really is counterintuitive to book a breakaway filled with activities that leaves you more tired than before your break. Use the downtime for what is most important – rest and relaxation. You may think that you might as well have stayed home, but a change in scenery is sometimes all you need and so your getaway needn’t be loaded with lots of things to do. Take a few board games along and spend some time indoors playing games you love as a family. The kids will enjoy the engagement and mom and dad gets a chance to bring out their inner child, even if it is with a glass of red wine in one hand 🙂 .
And don’t worry too much about money – getaways needn’t be expensive if you plan it properly. If you as a family decide that you want to go away every three months for a weekend, build this into your budget and have a “holiday account”. See this as a monthly expense, so every month no matter what, you transfer a certain amount into the account. Then when you are ready for your break, use this money. It’s already an expense that was catered for. Every little bit helps!
There are so many internet sites like Bookings.com or WheretoStay that helps you find the cheapest accommodation based on your needs. Sometimes, they even offer “Just for today” discounts that if you book on that day, you get an added reduction to the price. Shop around and I guarantee you will find a few places you love that also suits your pocket. You can save some pennies by opting for self catering accommodation. This way you pack in groceries you already have in your pantry.
If you prefer to be in nature, why not plan a camping trip before winter officially says hello. Camping equipment usually goes on sale right after Christmas. These are generally once off expenses as good camping equipment lasts a couple of years. Why not make it tradition that you camp every Easter? An Easter egg hunt in the wild is definitely a memory that will last a lifetime.
So now you know why you deserve a break mid year – happy planning 🙂
“Holiday – a restoring thing, which by a blast of magic, turns man into himself.”- G K Chesterton
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