Sharlene Zeederberg

Not So Fast—The Art of Holidaying Effectively

We’re on holidays, but now what? With Christmas out of the way, I have a simple system to maximize the time off and understand the art of slowing down.

 

We have different holiday styles, my husband and myself. His involves a lot of sleeping and reading and resting and relaxing, while mine seems to involve moving, doing, visiting, seeing, achieving. I think he may have the right idea, but I don’t seem to have the skill set required for restful recuperation. I am trying though, and sheer exhaustion is helping me get there. Yesterday, after I got up at 6:00 a.m. and walked along the beach for 4 km, I fell back into bed and slept until 11:33 a.m. Unprecedented. Oddly, that feeling of lethargy and slight breathlessness that has accompanied me for most of this year seems to have abated as a result. I think my body is trying to tell me something.

Actually, combining our two holiday styles works best. Rest day, Do day, Rest day, Do day. I just have to remember it is okay to rest. I think I have always been highly strung, achievement focused, busy. I get itchy in my head after sitting still for too long (and by too long I mean about 25 minutes). My mind pulls up the list of shoulds and coulds, things still undone, opportunities abandoned. I literally have to get up and move about, make something happen, write something, bake something, fix something, think something. Make a list, set a task, put together a plan. I think resting is a skill and I don’t appreciate its value enough. I have to learn to rest and appreciate stillness, rather than trying to fill the quietness with activity.

I need to remember to appreciate things more in 2017. To slow down and focus on what matters, to do the tasks I choose well and mindfully and to do things for myself for no ulterior motive other than enjoyment.

Which is what this Christmas holiday is about. Here at home we aren’t on any mission to see new things. We’ve done most of it before anyway. We are beaching and chilling by the pool, eating too much, going to movies, playing board games, hanging out with family and sleeping. Right now the kids are wallowing in the pool, making up games and playing together without squabbling, and with no device in sight! (Now that actually is an achievement!) And I am enjoying sitting here (okay, I am typing, but with no sense of pressure about having to do it). In fact, maybe feeling more rested makes us better able to enjoy and appreciate the wonderfulness of our lives. Maybe activity begets activity and rest begets appreciation?

Whatever it is, I am liking this feeling of peace—however momentary. I need to remember to appreciate things more in 2017. To slow down and focus on what matters, to do the tasks I choose well and mindfully, and to do things for myself for no ulterior motive other than enjoyment. Perhaps that is the best Christmas gift we can give ourselves—learning the art of appreciation.

 

 

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