So, that's it. The first week back at work after the Christmas break is over and done with and it's been a cracker. New clients, new plans, new opportunities and a diary that's filling up rather beautifully with all kinds of goodness.
But this blog post isn't about all that. Oh no, it's the grown-up version of that back-to-school staple, beloved of teachers everywhere, the 'what I did on my holidays' essay. Because holidays are for life, not just for Christmas.
No, before you think that this is some cryptic way of me telling you that I'm giving it all up to sail endlessly around the Med or I'm off to live the life of a hermit in the Hebrides, let me explain. You see, I loved my Christmas holiday. I loved the lack of early morning alarms, the slower pace, the time I had to indulge my passions and the opportunity to connect with people a little more without being a slave to my to-do list. So, I've determined that, like those bonkers people who refuse to take down their Christmas lights, I'm going to hang onto elements of that festive vibe for as long as possible.
Now, I'm not naive enough to think that I can laze in bed longer and stay up later everyday and in fact, I don't want to do that all the time. What I do want to do however is cling onto certain parts of the holidays that I think will make a big difference to my wellbeing and overall happiness. These things, I know, will mean I'm in better shape, physically and mentally, to give my absolute best to what is going to be a rip-roaring year.
In that spirit, let me tell you now that, after I've trilled 'bedtime', my iPhone will henceforth only be used as an alarm clock. I'm going to continue luxuriating for a good half and hour in bed before I doze off with a book, a mug of rooibos and a feeling of great contentment. No more checking social media or messing around with apps. They can wait. I'm more important.
I'll also be getting more flexible. Not in a twisty-yoga way but more in a 'I'll shape my own schedule' kind of a thang. I want my days to include a dog walk and time with the kids when they get home from school but I'm not going to get bent out of shape obsessing about precise timings for walkies and din-dins. It'll happen. I just need to let it go a bit - the clock is not the boss of me!
Christmas was also a reminder that keeping the creative alive is super important. I wrote for myself, I took photos, I faffed around crafting and I listened to more music than I have done for a while. It was all good and it all left me feeling more rounded - as if each activity had wrapped me in another layer of goodness (it might also have been the mince pies making me feel more rounded but we'll skip over that).
Most of all, the Christmas break reminded me just how flipping important breaks, holidays and time away from the norm can be. When you work for yourself, it's hard to ever truly leave your work behind because you always know that ultimately, the buck and just about everything else stops with you and there's no helpful little temp or team member picking up your work whilst you're away. However, holidays are the salve to the soul that we all need. No-one can keep going apace indefinitely and who would truly want to? Work is great and life is great when they're balanced. I'm going to balance like a tightrope walker crossing Niagara this year and our Easter holiday has already been booked (cue record-breaking rain in the Lake District during April I'm sure). The next battery-recharging pit-stop is in the diary and that feels fantastic.
I guess this little missive is a plea to us all not to be in such a rush to charge headlong into the joys and excitement of a fresh new year that we forget to take note of the teachings of the holidays. It's easy to do. We sprint back, full of vigour and energy without stopping to think what it was that has made us feel so brilliant. It was the holidays and the things we did in them.
So yes, my holidays were great. My year is going to be even better.