Three ways to extend your holiday 

Do your holidays always go by way too quickly?

They say time flies when you’re having fun. But it also flies when you’re distracted, overwhelmed or just too busy.

If you find that happens to you, here are three experiments to try on your next holiday:

Create a holiday bucket list

I remember starting this one year as an antidote to the “I’m bored” moments in the six week school holidays. I sat down with the kids, got out a bit sheet of poster paper and a bunch of Sharpies, and we proceeded to come up with all the things we might like to do during the holidays. The deal was no promises, no commitments, just ideas. This then lived at the bottom of the stairs for all our “what shall we do today?” and “I’m bored” moments.

Because let’s face it, when we’re bored, tired, grumpy or about to go mad with cabin fever – that’s not when we’re at our most creative. It’s so much easier to have our best ideas already captured.

The holiday project list

My sister’s coming to visit from Pittsburgh this summer – yay! Which gives us the perfect kick up the backside to get the house sorted. Again, we brain dumped everything onto post-it notes and mapped out our own little house project plan – but this time, the idea wasn’t to get as many ideas as possible onto paper, the idea was to under-commit.

You see, the holidays can sometimes become the dumping ground for ‘everything else we didn’t get round to’ in the rest of the year – and none of us wanted to spend the entire holiday sorting the house out. Getting everything out of our heads and onto paper meant we could honestly and objectively look at it all and make some ruthless decisions about what needed to get done, and what could wait – or not be done at all.

And because it was visual, it got our kids involved too – in both the planning and the doing!

Unplug – and enjoy the moments

Holiday is when you sense freedom rather than panic when you discover you’ve left your phone at home.

Irony is when you automatically reach for your phone to post this insight. (Yes that happened to me this weekend!)

It’s so easy to default to our screens when we’re on holiday. Screens tell us what to pay attention to. They feed us stimulus. And when we respond we get a convenient quick hit of dopamine which makes us feel like we’re doing something useful. And if we’re in the habit of checking our phones some 85 times a day then we probably don’t even notice when we’re doing it.

When we let our screens dictate our pace, time passes quick – and often in a blur. And we forget that in our minds, we have the ability to slow time down.

Life is measured not by minutes, but by moments – so the saying goes. And research suggests that those who feel more ’time rich’ than ’time poor’ tend to be those who allow themselves to be regularly captivated by the present moment.

The beauty of the holidays I find is the freedom to take each moment as it comes – moments in my dad’s garden with a cup of tea and a book, moments blowing bubbles with the kids by the lake, moments watching my husband play tig with the kids like a big kid himself. I remember that at any moment, I can mentally slow down and soak it all in, freeze frame the picture in my mind, savour the tastes, sounds and sights – or even let my mind rest and do absolutely nothing – and for that moment, in my world, time stands still.

Happy holidays – may yours be filled with plenty of moments.

What makes your holiday last longer? Leave a comment and let us know.

  • Robin Thiele

    Oh the Holidays! Technically, they are just as long as any other day. we rememebr them more from the moments in them. Thanks for reminding me.

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