Do you remember how magical the countdown to winter break was when you were a child? Especially when you were older, and you had to get through final exams, knowing that, once you put in all the hard work, it was game on! Two or more weeks of sleeping in, movies, playing in the snow, hanging out with friends, and of course nowadays, plenty of video games and screen time.
Yes, our kids are excited. But are we?
I don’t know about you, but as winter break approaches, I have a mixed bag of emotions. They go something like this:
- When am I going to get the shopping wrapped up? And what about the wrapping itself?
- Three kids, three little personal agendas… how can we make it fun for each of them without making it a free-for-all?
- How can I be sure that I’m taking time to connect with my family, not just running here and there mindlessly?
- How can I be sure that I take time to connect with the reason for the season?
and of course…
- How can I be sure to still get my workouts in and not eat insane amounts of all the wonderful holiday treats?
Anyone else relate? The truth is: winter break is indeed a magical, wonderful opportunity to bond with our family, move way from being dictated by early alarms and the schooldays calendar, and relax. But the flip side is when the two weeks of ‘vacation mode while trying to pull together a festive holiday for my family’ becomes exhausting and demanding.
How can we not just survive, but thrive over winter break? Let’s discuss!
First: Choose your priorities and get them out in print.
I hope you’ll allow me to say: you need to be one of your highest priorities. Whether you’re working part or all or none of the break, taking care of your own well being must be high on your list. You can’t give away energy you don’t have, and so your own rest, fitness, and nutrition must be super high on your list. Dare I say: put it first, so that you’ll have more energy to make more memories with your family!
Get this out of your head and into print.
- Grab your calendar or your notebook or your favorite app on your phone.
- Write down all the commitments you have over break. Work, family time, church, dinners, whatever it is… get it down.
- Next: write down all the little tasks you must get done. Grocery runs, gift shopping, sending cards, household tasks. Write them down.
- Your workouts! When are they happening? (You know where I’m going with this, right?) Yep. Write down those sweaty stress-reducing sessions!
- Finally: what are your wishes for family time and memory-making? This is the fun stuff! Now that you’ve got all the must-do’s out, you have a solid sense of the time you have for the want-to’s! Chat with your family on this one. From Breakfast with Santa to Christmas at the Zoo to caroling around the neighborhood to baking cookies… what will make for a successful, joy-filled, connected break for you and yours? Write that stuff down!
Second: Clearly communicate expectations.
As break approaches, start laying the groundwork early. Let your family know what your commitments are, and how much time each day or each week you’ll need to be taking care of business. Being a great mom is not defined by your servitude to your family, and it’s not healthy for them to expect it of you!
Once you’ve had a chance to lay out your priorities, you can confidently communicate to your family that there will be plenty of time for fun. Especially with our kids, simply knowing that you do care about their wishes, and that you are making room for them to have fun over break, will help them to be patient when you’re taking care of business.
Third: Allow some wiggle room.
You’ve done your best to lay a framework for a successful, thriving winter break. Now with that done, you can feel confident that if you do your best to adhere to your priorities, even if things go a bit sideways, you’ll still have a more successful break than you would have otherwise!
So: be willing to be flexible. Life will happen. Perhaps it’s someone catching a cold (bummer, and I sure hope it’s not you!). Or perhaps Mother Nature gifts you with a fresh coat of snow, and you simply must drop everything to take your children sledding. If you live according to your highest priorities for even 75% of your break, you’ve done well, Mama!
What do you think? What absolutely must happen for you over break? What are you favorite family traditions, and how do you make your own health and fitness a priority? Share below, or better yet, click “Share” and share this article with your friends so we can all discuss!