Holidays might have originated from the term ‘holy day’ but school holidays are designed for students to catch up on a whole lot of things: sleep and relaxation, physical activity, academic work and socialization. Term time is busy and requires a lot of continuous activity so holidays provide unstructured time that can be used to catch up on sleep and relaxation that might have been missed during term time.
Initially, sleep might be the priority – understandable for growing adolescents who might find it difficult to sleep sufficiently during term time when academic demands clash with the need to grow and develop during the ‘re-charging’ period of sleep. More than at any time since they were infants, adolescents require huge amounts of sleep, using the time they sleep to physically grow and cognitively develop.
During the busyness of term time, with time restrictions and lots happening, it can be easy to fall out of the routine of undertaking physical activity. Holidays are less time-pressured, so provide an opportunity to re-establish physical activity routines that benefit physical and mental health. Through physical activity, stress levels are reduced and biochemicals are recalibrated reducing anxiety and optimizing well-being.
The academic focus during a semester is on completing impending assignments, preparing for tests and exams. Holidays provide an opportunity to catch up on other academic work, learning in preparation for formal, long-term exams and long-term tasks that must be completed within a certain time frame.
When students move schools, they inevitably leave behind whatever social contacts might have been made during the time they were at the previous school. These contacts might be added to within a new school environment, so holidays provide an opportunity to catch up with previous social contacts or friends, if desired.
If organized, all of these activities can be undertaken during this end of semester holiday break without the individual feeling pressured in any way. There is sufficient time and opportunity for each of these activities to be undertaken. There is a lot of emphasis on the benefits of establishing a balanced lifestyle. Although desirable, this doesn’t necessarily mean establishing a daily balance, but rather creating a balance over time, utilizing holiday breaks to catch up on any activities that haven’t been possible to maintain during term time when other priorities take precedence.
Holidays never seem long enough but by arranging available time to catch up on activities that require attention, it is possible to create a balance across the year. Individuals differ and demands are different but by everyone utilizing the holiday period to catch up on whatever needs their attention, it is possible to begin the next term well positioned to achieve one’s potential in any sphere.
© Michele Juratowitch