Do You Feel Relaxed After A Family Holiday With Young Children?

d&i strategies self care work life harmony working parents Sep 03, 2019

There’s a good reason you often hear people say they need a holiday to recover from their family holiday with young children. It’s meant as a joke, but it’s sometimes true…

As we return to work after the summer we tend to feel a range of things - relief mixed with sadness that the children are back in school, overwhelm at the amount of work that’s piled up, and one other thing…


The end of summer is a difficult time of year. We had plans to relax and recharge, but that’s often not the reality. A holiday with kids can be a wonderful and cherished experience creating memories to treasure, but often they are rarely relaxing. 

What is a holiday? 

The definition of a holiday is an extended period of leisure and recreation, especially one spent away from home or travelling. 

Unfortunately for working parents in particular, a holiday often means taking time off from just one type of work and not necessarily from the mental load and daily tasks associated with being Mum or Dad. 

As we were sourcing an appropriate image for this article, all we could find was idyllic photographs of happy families relaxing on the beach or holding hands as they stroll leisurely through a park. This is how we all picture our holidays when we book them, isn’t it? But family holidays are not always the relaxing breaks we needed or hoped for. 

What you don’t see in the brochure is the packing, the travelling, the tantrums, the endless snacks and activities required to placate young children on your travels, the constant reapplication of sunscreen and topping up of water, and parents collapsing into a heap with a glass of wine at the end of each day. 

There is a place for family holidays in your annual calendar and most people will agree that the fun and bonding opportunities outweigh the stresses of travelling with children. However, it’s also important that you schedule some time in your year to do things for you. 

Just you. 

What does relaxation mean for you?

What do you personally find relaxing? How do you recharge your batteries? Making time for these things is important, so that you are better equipped to manage the challenges of parenting and work the rest of the time. 

When was the last time you took a day off work to spend time reading a book, visiting a spa, or catching up with friends? How often do you take a half day, so that you can spend an afternoon recharging your batteries or doing something that energises you? 

Many of us struggle to take a break with quality, relaxing time away from work. We are constantly connected - often literally via smartphones and laptops - but it’s important that we all take time out to switch off, unplug and be uncontactable by work (ie no checking emails). 

As you look ahead to the last few months of the year, make it a priority to schedule in some annual leave with time for yourself. Not only will you feel better and more energised, your place of work will benefit from you being happier and more productive, and you may find you become more present in your family life too. 

In our work supporting parents post parental leave, be it through workshops &/or coaching; the theme of guilt at not being with one’s family is very often present; coupled with feelings of failing at being the professional you want to be and the parent you want to be. We stress the importance of quality over quantity when “time” or the lack of it, is seen as a barrier to well-being. When you focus on the quality of the time spent with your family, where you are energised and positive as a result of having invested in “me time”, everyone wins!

If you would like to explore the ways in which you can promote and support your team members in reducing stress and improving wellbeing, please email us at [email protected].

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