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Summer Holidays

In this month’s blog post Fiona Cook, Director of Physis Scotland shares with us her reflections about Summer holidays and the importance of taking time to rest and restore.

‘We’re all going on a summer holiday’ was a song I remember from my younger days.  Yes, summer is indeed here but holidays are a bit different these days and have almost been non-existent during our 16 months of COVID, well certainly for me! I would in normal times go away on holiday about 3-4 times a year and it was always a time of rest and relaxation. During COVID times however, there has been nowhere to go, we were not allowed out of our ’zone’ and we could not be with others until fairly recently.

I am about to go on leave from all of my jobs for 5 days which is the only holiday I will have had in the last 16 months with the exception of Christmas 2020 when I took time off. I realise that living with all the restrictions of containing COVID have led to something else.  I have restricted myself. Not having anywhere to go meant that I have carried on working and have not taken time to rest. In my busy world, there is always something to be done, so in many respects it was easier for me to carry on working. Being a workaholic. My form of self-harming I realise.

The joyful anticipation of going on holiday from work for me can often be marred by everything my Parent ego state tells me needs to be done before we leave. It can feel stressful. I tell myself I will not enjoy my holiday if I don’t get everything on my to do list done, but I know that is also a choice in terms of how I think and am in the world. The reality is things can usually wait, and it is important to take the restorative time for holiday. I would tell everybody else that and yet not heed my own advice!

Students and tutors in Physis Scotland are coming to the end of term and it is a really busy time for us all. Final weekends together with students presenting their work, marking essays, end of year reports, getting yearbooks ready for next academic year, advertising and recruiting for all our programmes. It is busy and it can be stressful! We all need a break and in the weeks we have between finishing this academic year and starting the next I am asking the question – how can we take care of ourselves so we begin again refreshed and reinvigorated?

I have thought of a few words beginning with the letter R which might be helpful to think of as we take a break.

Reflect on how far we have come this year and all we have achieved individually and corporately. It has been a long year where we need to account for our enforced solitude and online working, and yet we have done it.

Relax – yes we can be lazy and not have to attend to our usual structure of a day, we can nap, watch movies, read books and intentionally not think about work or look at emails.

Recreate yourself. A holiday is a time for recreation – how can we do this and make time of recreation, to have fun and enjoyment and to live life to the full.

Restore – see this break as a time of restoration which means we can be – just be, not do; where we take time to be ourselves, to be with those we love, to sleep and I love the fact this word restore begins with the word rest!

Refresh ourselves by trying to do something different, going away if that is a possibility so that we can be refreshed and refreshing to be with.

As I take some time off this week, I am going to ponder these considerations and enjoy my time reflecting, relaxing, recreating myself, restoring myself and refreshing myself. I will maybe not achieve them all in 5 or 6 days, but it is a start. I invite all reading this to also take time over the summer to think about these things in a more intentional way and return feeling renewed.

Congratulations to all our students who have achieved so much this year and to our tutors and admin colleagues who have all worked so hard to achieve what we have all achieved together.

I saw this on Facebook today. Rest is not idle, is not wasteful. Sometimes rest is the most productive thing you can do for your mind body and soul, so……..

Have a great summer and remember the R words!


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