LIVING FOR THE WEEKEND
Can you feel it? Feel the pressure? Rising?
The idea of a “holiday” often conjures up thoughts of trips to faraway lands, cocktails and white sands. While it’s true that big trips are a great way to recharge the batteries, they can also take a lot of time, energy, and money. A lot of people feel exhausted just thinking about planning a holiday, not just navigating personal commitments and school holidays, but deciding how to delegate major projects or put work on hold, just so they can have a stress-free break from the office. Because of this, some might put off their time away, figuring they’ll get to it when their schedule isn’t so demanding, only to discover at the end of the year that they haven’t used up their annual leave.
As a parent of two young children any thoughts of a last minute booking are a distant memory! But what I have learnt is that not all of my holidays have to be big to be significant to my health and happiness. There are a number of options or workarounds depending on you and the “flexibility” offered from your employer but I’m 100% behind the idea of taking “micro-holidays” on a frequent basis, usually every other month. These small bits of time off can increase your sense of happiness and well being, put simply they give you the feeling of having room to breathe.
Micro-holidays allow you to take time away from the office without depleting your annual leave in one hit, all they require a day or less of leave. And because of their shorter duration, they will normally require less effort to plan. The formula is simple and very cost effective in every possible way. You’ll spend less time thinking about it and planning; considerably less money paying for it and the beauty of a micro-holiday is that usually they don’t require you to coordinate others taking care of your work while you’re gone (just stick you OoO on and walk out the door!).
Because of these benefits, micro-holidays can happen more frequently throughout the year, which allows you to recharge before you’re feeling burnt out. If you’re feeling like you need a break from the day-to-day but can’t find the time for an extended vacation, here are four ways to add micro-vacations to your life.
Instead of limiting holidays to week long adventures, consider a 2 or 3 day trip to someplace local. Living in the Sydney bubble it’s all too easy to take the city for granted and escaping Sydney might sound like a strange desire. But like anywhere, the need to get away from it all is still there. Here are my top 5 easy Sydney weekend getaways.
Bundeena – we were down there last weekend making a splash!
This hidden gem of Sydney’s south is a must, the drive there is beautiful through the Royal National Park. Or you can catch the ferry from Cronulla. This is a very chilled out little tucked-away town, the little string of shops and cafes has all you need to stock up for a weekend away.
Blue Mountains – Heading west out of Sydney, the famous Blue Mountains has so much to offer it’s hard to know where to start. There’s so much to do in this region whether it’s a winter retreat to Leura, checking out Katoomba or getting out and about for views out over the valleys.
Kangaroo Valley – This was the destination of one of our very first road trips together as a family and we’ve been back to the same house numerous times (it’s our secret off the grid “no IOT” getaway!) Only a couple of hours south of Sydney, Kangaroo Valley feels like you’re a lot further from the big smoke.
Hunter Valley – A place that has amazing memories for me, it’s where I met my other half. It’s another place where you can completely switch off just hide the car keys, relax and enjoy!
Hyams Beach – This beach is famous for having the whitest sand in the world. It’s even in the Guinness Book of Records! This little seaside village is the perfect spot to get away from it all and live the real Aussie beach life for a couple of days.
If you’re living and working in the city, traveling even a few hours can make you feel like you’re in a different world. To make the trip as refreshing as possible, consider taking time off on Friday so you can wrap up packing, get to your destination without sitting in Sydney traffic, and do a few things before calling it a night. That still leaves you with two days to explore the area. If you get home by dinner time on Sunday, you can unpack and get the house in order before your working week starts again. There may be a few more emails than normal to process on Monday, but other than that, your micro-holiday shouldn’t create any big work pileups.
PERSONAL TO-DO LIST
Sometimes getting the smallest things done can make you feel fantastic. Consider taking an afternoon or even a full day to take an unrushed approach to all of the nonwork tasks that you really want to do but struggle to find time to do. For example, think of those appointments like getting your hair cut, eyes tested, nails done, oil changed, or even that visit to the doctor that you’ve been putting off for too long. You know that you should get these taken care of but finding the time is difficult with your normal schedule. Or perhaps you want to take the time to do items that you never seem to get to, like picking out new furniture (without the kids in tow!), unpacking the remaining boxes in the guest room, or a visit to the bank. You technically could get these kinds of items done on a weeknight or over the weekend. But if you’re consistently finding that you’re not and you have the annual leave, use it to lift some of the weight from the nagging undone items list.
SHORTER DAYS FOR SOCIALISATION
As we get older and particularly after we get married, there tends to be a reduction in how much time we spend with friends. One way to find time for friends without feeling like you’re sacrificing your family time is to take an hour or two off in a day to meet a friend for lunch or to get together with friends before heading home. If your employer allows you to split up your annual leave into these small increments, a single day could easily give you four opportunities to connect with friends who you otherwise might not see at all.
If you struggle to have an uninterrupted conversation with your spouse because your kids are always around, a similar strategy can be helpful. Find days when one or both of you can take a little time off to be together. An extra hour or two will barely make a difference at work but could make a massive impact on the quality of your relationship. There’s nothing quite like a day at the beach together while the kids are in school!
REMOTE DAYS FOR DECOMPRESSION
Many employers now have remote working options for some or all of the week. If that’s offered and working remotely is conducive to your work style and your tasks, take advantage of that option.
Working remotely is not technically a micro-holiday, but it can often feel like one but you still need to do some work! If you have a commute of an hour or more each way, not having to commute can add back in two or more hours to your life that can be used for those personal tasks or social meetings.
Also, for individuals who work in offices that are loud, lack windows, or where drive-by meetings are common, working remotely can feel like a welcome respite. Plus from my experience you’re likely to get more done.
Instead of seeing “holiday” as a large event once or twice a year, consider integrating in micro-holidays into your life on a regular basis. By giving yourself permission to take time for yourself, you can increase your sense of ease with your time. Try it what’s the best that can happen?!
WORK TO LIVE DON’T LIVE TO WORK