As the holidays draw closer, I find that I can hardly contain my excitement. This was not always the case. I dreaded holidays and breaks of any sort. To me, a day off from work was akin to jail time. At times like this, I would feel depressed and bored out of my mind. I saw the idea of "resting" as just another lame reason to justify being unproductive.
That I did not burn out from too much work is a miracle in itself.
Now I know better.Not only do periodic timeouts help prevent burnout, they also help increase productivity.Holidays, vacations and work leave have been shown by various studies to raise the level of happiness and productivity of employees in the workplace.
Fast forward to today and I am no more the holiday-hating, anti-downtime individual I once was. I love the holidays and I look forward to them.
However, it is important that you know that the holidays is worth much more than just a little down time. It is not the time to just sit at home alone in front of TV, soda in hand and watching every single rerun of every boring show on the planet. It is a time to have yourself some much-needed fun!
So if you are the way I was - loving work more than anything else or just plain hating the holidays for some reasons (some justifiable, others preposterous) - you should seriously consider breaking out of your rut and enjoying times like these as they were meant to be enjoyed. Here are a few ways that you can have an absolute blast during the holidays - and live to tell the story, of course.
1. Enjoy the great outdoors
Before the holidays, you probably spent a good chunk of everyday cooked up in some in some cubicle dealing with a heavy workload, bellowing managers and dangling on the precipice of frustration and a nervous breakdown. The holidays are here to offer you much needed respite from the nightmare of the office.
Take advantage of the outdoors as much as you can. Sit at the front porch and just breathe in the fresh air. Run, jog or walk a mile or two when you can in the cool of the evening. I promise you, enjoying these simple outdoor pleasures can lift your mood as well as help prevent you from building "holiday fat". Besides, the outdoors - as I have experienced - can be a great source of inspiration for just about any endeavor.
2. Hang out with family and friends
If you are married and/or have a family then you probably agree completely with the saying that "family is everything". Unfortunately, some of us are buried so deep in work and many other engagements (often by no fault of ours) that we never can find the time to enjoy the promise of this statement.
The holidays are a good time to catch up with your family - your wife/husband, parents, siblings and kids. Play games with them, take them out, talk with them and do your favorite stuff together.
Your very close friends (and your children's close friends too) are not exempt from this circle of people. Growing up I had a few very close friends - the type of friends that came over unannounced and ate my food in my absence.
I have them and their families around almost every holiday and we have a swell time. It helps to build a relationship between your kids and your friends' kids organically while strengthening the bond you already have with your friends. Some good old family ties are not a bad idea.
Screenshot: Hangout with family
3. Tour an exotic location in an unconventional manner
This one is high on the list of things to do during the holidays. Go places you have never been before. Visit ancient ruins of lost cities, prehistoric caves and sites. It could be anything from the pyramids of Egypt to the Stone hedge monument or any of the Seven Wonders of the World, so long as it gives you a rush of excitement and arms you with a truckload of discussion material for later.
Beyond the question of where to visit, there is also the issue of how to visit your chosen location. There is the conventional two story tour bus drive around town movement. I am personally bored of this method - I have done it so many times it has begun to feel stereotypical and numb.
I discovered, however, that my boredom did not stem from visiting the same locations repeatedly, but from doing it the same way over and over again.
Therefore, I took the unconventional route - via hot air balloon and it was an experience to die for! Talk about seeing a place from an "aerial" point of view! That is the first time I was in a gas chamber and did not need a gas mask!I was petrified at first, but it turned out to be safer than I thought.
Your poison could be sky diving or my favorite - hot air balloon riding or any other less used method. If you are looking to get a rush out of your touring experience then the "road less traveled" is definitely the way to go.
Screenshot: Air balloon riding
4. Volunteer to serve others and give back
I do not know about you, but having a sense of fulfillment is part of my definition of fun. Is there a place you feel passionate about helping out in? Maybe an orphanage, soup kitchen, homeless shelter, youth center, local library or hospitals,get actively involved in such humanitarian services.
What's more? The holidays are the perfect time to help in such places. You have all the time in the world now to take part in any endeavor close to your heart that will put a smile on the face of someone else.You could help do the dishes, sweep the place, and serve food or whatever else you can do.
If for some personal reason - maybe injury or due to the doctor's orders - you cannot do any strenuous work, then get someone close to you to volunteer, maybe your kids and their friends. This will help inculcate in them the value of community and of doing good while also having fun.If all else fails, you can help by giving donations in cash and/or kind to help further accomplish the objective of your chosen place of service.
I found that it is counter-productive to restrain yourself from such activities while your heart is in absolute disagreement with your decision. This will only lead to feelings of depression, anger,dissatisfaction and guilt among others. So, if you feel it is right, do it. That is a good way of wishing someone a happy holiday period.
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