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An Open Letter To All Mama's NOT Travelling this Holiday Season

Dear fellow staycationers,

We are technically only four days into winter break, Christmas is here and I am coming to terms with the fact that my family will be staying put this holiday season. No last minute trip to Florida, no all-inclusive vacation to Mexico, no long roadtrip to visit family in Atlanta - just the five of us staycationing in Toronto.

When I was growing up in South Africa, travelling anywhere aside from local summer camp over the holidays (yes, summer in the Southern hemisphere) was not even an option. My parents never spoke of where we could go, or what we would do - it simply wasn't a discussion. Over the holidays, we just did what we did every other day - hung out with our family and friends, and did regular activities. And that was perfect!

So, it got me thinking - why do I find myself now, the mother of three young kids, constantly dreaming up exotic vacations and secretly wishing it might still happen with only ten days of holiday left until school goes back!?

I realized that social media, as much as I love it, actually gets me down this time of year and is the root cause of some unwelcome feelings. I know I am not the only one... I have a sneaky suspicion YOU are right there with me. Cause you too have been mindlessly scrolling through Insta and Facebook, and seeing everyone else's sun-filled, smiley-and-oh-so-perfect family vacations. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't wish any of "those" people anything other than the absolute best time on their trips, but I can't help but feel that pang of jealousy every time I see or hear of someone enjoying their vacation somewhere in the world.

Two days ago, I'll admit it, I actually felt the holiday blues - it really got to me and made me slightly dread the coming two weeks with my family. Isn't that sad? It's actually ridiculous. And so I excused myself from my own pity party, and came up with my own rules for how to navigate through the holidays with the most minimal feelings of jealously and wishing I was somewhere on a beach.

Here are my top six tips that I am mindfully putting into place, and so far have working well:

1. People, People, People - Surround yourself with people you actually like, and connect with them in your home, in theirs or out and about. Just yesterday, we spontaneously invited friends to come around and watch Elf (funniest movie ever), and it turned into tea, movies, dinner and 5 hours later they went home. It was one of our favorite play dates to date and all cause we had no where else to be!

A snap of the kids before the movie!

2. Digital Detox - This is a must and we all know why... As hard as it is, this bad habit of endless scrolling simply reminds us we are NOT travelling as we keep catching glimpses of everyone else who IS. Make a conscious effort to reduce your screen time on social media - easy, right!? Wrong. But we still gotta try by finding what works...

I literally moved my IG and FB apps from my phone's home page to the last page of apps, so they weren't right there in my face and readily available every time I looked at my phone. I am actually tempted to delete the apps completely for the coming 10 days, but for some reason am not sure I can do it. Can you?

3. Plan Every Day - As much as I would love to relax in my jammies every day and play board games with my kids, let's be real - we'll all be bouncing off the walls by 10am. So, make a calendar of activities - places to visit, people to see, movies to watch, sports to do - everything. Plan it out meticulously, as I've found that waking up with no plans even on just one day, got my mood way down, in comparison to the past two days that have been filled with plans and activities!

Family Fun Day at the Museum of Illusions

Family Fun Day at Distillery District

4. Be Productive - Yes, it's a time for rest, but truthfully what makes us feel better than getting sh*t done!? I have been dreaming of arranging my kitchen cabinets for weeks now. They've gotten into such a state, that I can't open the cupboard without a half eaten bag of something falling out on my head. So, I bought copious amounts of mason jars and I literally cannot wait to get in there, remove every single thing from the cupboards and arrange all the cereals, snacks, nuts, bars, chips etc. into mason jars. This is literally what makes me smile at the moment - sad, but true! (I will be filming my experience on a vlog for you all to see, so #watchthisspace). So, pick a project in your home mama's and let's get productive!

5. Say Hello to Your New Friends Tony, Gary or Rachel - Just today, I dragged myself to the gym, and decided instead of music or random TV on the treadmill screen, I would watch a little motivational speaking by my current favs Gary Vee, Tony Robbins and Rachel Hollis on YouTube. Having them in my ears, and consuming their content got me really pumped, focused on what's truly important and seriously improved my mood. If you already follow one of these positive forces, or you haven't found your "new friends" yet - then make it happen and see your mood change almost instantly!

Oh, and please drop your speaker/podcast recommendations in the comments for inspiration - cause sharing is caring :)

6. Count Your Blessings - Cliched maybe, but so true. Keep reminding yourself of what you do have, not what's missing from your life. Cause everyone will return home from wherever they have been, and life will go on. It's hard not to get caught up in what every one else is doing, or what you think you should be doing, but awareness of everything your life is filled with really is key to staying grounded and grateful for what really matters.

There you have it. We are only human and we try our best! Tomorrow is a new day, hopefully one filled with good people, great food, happy memories and good times regardless of where we are in the world. Happy Holidays to you all!

Liat x

Happy Holidays to all!

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