Make my holiday actually a holiday.
October 9, 2020 4:20 AM   Subscribe

I have just started a new job. I need to use up my leave by the end of the year and I want to do so... mindfully. What can I do to make leave different to not-leave.

So, I have, basically a week to take off by the end of the year. I would like to make it feel like a holiday.

I've been brought on as part of a new team. The team is currently developing our capability in an area and doesn't have much work, so this means I don't have much in terms of deliverables. Also I'm fully remote (partially pandemic, partially something I negotiated) so I'm at home, doing more or less what I want to do.

Now additionally, I have a child and a partner and there's a global pandemic, so we can't all go away anywhere. (Partner is only part time so we may be able to do somethings together, during school hours)

Any thoughts as to how I can achieve this. Or thoughts to help me clarify in my head what I want.
posted by Just this guy, y'know to Work & Money (9 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I took a week off in September and made a point of walking on the beach every day in the morning, before spending time on hobbies or rest or work around the house. It was quieter than in my normal time off and I could see the slight differences each day in the tides and the landscape - like actually being on holiday and getting to know where I was staying.

Is there some natural landscape around you that could be part of your day? I can see you're in London, so I bet you have good parks if not also ponds or river, and will have weather that's ok with the right coat.

(I did also enjoy having projects and getting more rest, but that bit's more obvious.)
posted by carbide at 5:25 AM on October 9, 2020 [4 favorites]

Do you celebrate winter holidays? Is there separate leave allotted for them? I might want a couple of extra days to say goodbye to 2020.
posted by yarntheory at 5:37 AM on October 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

My husband and I both work from home. We have a week off work coming up and we are staying put. Our normal routine since March has been to eat all our meals at home with the exception of two takeout meals per week (we ate on a patio a few times while the weather was nice prior to case counts climbing again in our area).

Our plan for our vacation week is to not cook at home at all, but to get takeout from a different area restaurant for each meal (like we would do on vacation). We are fortunate enough to have a wide variety of restaurants very nearby, so this may or may not work for you depending on your situation.
posted by TORunner at 6:45 AM on October 9, 2020 [2 favorites]

I'm taking next week off myself to do basically this. My plans are:
  • Make progress on personal/creative projects
  • Deep clean my kitchen and potentially do some other clearing out around the house
  • Go out for some longer bike rides that I can't normally fit in around work
  • Bake something autumnal (current top candidate)
  • Watch TV/movies on my list that I don't usually get time for
  • Go out for at least one longer daytrip, do some walking & eat a nice lunch
  • Otherwise sleep and play video games

posted by terretu at 6:49 AM on October 9, 2020 [2 favorites]

I would do something every morning that you wouldn't normally do to make the days feel different. Taking a walk would work. Make a fancier than normal breakfast. Walk to a cafe/donut shop/corner store to get breakfast. Anything that makes the day district from a work day and a normal weekend.
posted by Garm at 6:54 AM on October 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

Make or buy really good food, go on picnics. Find out the most scenic drive near you, take it. Have a Home Spa Day. Get a great book to read, and plan a couple Movie Nights with something fun to eat, popcorn, a really good movie. Spend a whole morning in bed with good food and junk movies or a trashy novel.
posted by theora55 at 7:12 AM on October 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

Holidays are a critical tradition based around rituals of connecting with your kin network, eating stuff you wouldn't normally get to eat and observing the cyclical nature of our lives. They are a time for largesse, either gift giving or feasting or both, and a time when we give thanks for things.

You could: Spend three days of your holiday making some kind of home made gifts for your kin network (cookies, matching christmas ornaments, video etc.)
Gather with your kin network over zoom for a ritual meal
Observe the season by going somewhere to observe it, if only outside the house at dawn, but beaches, mountains, look outs, fall foliage drives, straight to the park for the first fall of snow are also good bets that may not violate social distancing.
Gather together the ingredients for a bang up feast and spend a full day cooking it.
Spend some time giving to your wider community
Gather with child and partner in love, to do something special that involves dressing up.
Invent a holiday or observe one you never previously did along the lines of robigalia or hogswatchnight.
Look at your bucket list and find a project that takes about a week and do it then: Intensive immersion course, run a five K (train before you vacation for this one), paint a painting on canvas, donate blood for the first time, write a novella, be part of a play reading, start volunteering at the RSPCA etc.
posted by Jane the Brown at 7:25 AM on October 9, 2020 [2 favorites]

I'm taking a substantial chunk of time off after a major deadline next week. In a different year I'd go away somewhere, or take day trips, but the pandemic means I'm not going anywhere I can't reach on foot. What I'm thinking of doing, some of which might also work for you:
  • Getting the house a bit more under control, after a decade of reluctance to sort out paperwork or tidy the spare room when there are exciting things to be done just a train ride away
  • Going for a walk in the countryside every morning - I've ordered a new smartphone lens so that I'll want to go and find some beetles to photograph with it
  • Reacquainting myself with the nice non-essential shops and cafes in the town where I live: I'm not keen to sit inside anywhere for long enough to eat, but I haven't browsed in an antique shop or had a flat white since March
  • Reading
  • Sleeping
  • Crafts
  • Baking
  • Not opening my work laptop even once.

posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 7:38 AM on October 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

Make sure to prepare for your leave in advance. Before your vacation starts, tie up loose ends at the office, arrange for someone to cover tasks for you in your absence. Finish any nagging personal/household tasks beforehand as well. That will make it easier for you to feel like you can truly disconnect without worrying about Real Life.
posted by aquamvidam at 8:25 AM on October 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

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