There are so many things to do with your six weeks off that we thought we’d take the opposite approach and point out a few things not to do…
Count the days
It can be hard to break the habit of that final term, when you counted down to study leave, then exams, then – hallelujah! – the holidays but, during this hallowed time, no good comes from counting. Are we halfway through? Who knows? Who cares? Until we reach the final weekend, it’s an extraordinary stretch of leisure time to be treasured so don’t try quantifying it, focus instead on the quality of it. And yes, a day watching trash television in your pyjamas can count as quality if you want it to.
Read the news
The current news cycle is anything but relaxing, both at home and abroad. Switch off. You really don’t need to concern yourself with the daily doom and gloom. Anything with long term repercussions will still be making headlines come September when you can become an engaged citizen again; the latest article on climate change simply threatens to kill the enjoyment of a still-rare mini heatwave. It’s not often we’d say this but you’re better off reading Jilly Cooper instead.
Think about the children
“Think of the children! Won’t somebody please think of the children?!” Helen Lovejoy’s trademark strangulated cry from The Simpsons is supposed to elicit sympathy. But we say, no. Noooooo! We thought about the children every day for 325 days. August is our month off. The most responsive Simpson’s character to Lovejoy’s wails of anguish was probably Maude Flanders and she wound up in an early grave. That’s what comes of thinking of the children too much. Think of your own children, yes – maybe even those of friends and relatives, but for heaven’s sake nobody else’s!
You might not think you have a choice over this but you do. You’ve probably already had it: the classic holiday lurgy. And the reason it typically hits in week one or two of the holidays is because you relaxed and let your defences down. It’s no coincidence that staff sickness rates are at their lowest in the first term: it’s because teachers are refreshed and ready to guard against sickness for the sake of the children who are suddenly dominating our thoughts again. Yet because everyone’s fresh, statistically speaking this is the time when the average school can most afford to lose you. So, if you haven’t succumbed yet but feel as if you might, fight it. Be ill in September on somebody else’s time instead.
Go near a WHSmith
Like the antichrist version of Easter eggs appearing in January or Christmas music playing in November, those heinous back to school promotions that began before July was even out might be unavoidable, but at least you don’t have to buy for yourself the school uniform or PE kit stocked in your local supermarket. Being tempted into bulk-buying biros and glue sticks can wait. If you need to stock up on holiday reading, go to a dedicated bookseller and swerve the stationers.