Talking to my 15 year old son in the kitchen today at breaktime I asked him how his lessons were going.
“I went to Spain today”, he declared.
Asking more he told me how he wanted to cheer him self up between lessons so he thought he would go and visit the house in Spain he went to with Grandad. He then went into great detail how he had used Google earth to locate the resort then he went on street view and had walked around the beach bar, sat by the pool and even went down to the beach.
We all thought this was a great idea. I suddenly thought where would I like to go to on google maps and then brought up where I grew up as a child in Lusaka and we all went to the Cathedral where Dad had worked and I showed them round. We had to use google images for my visit as they didn’t have street view but it still felt exciting. Then we started planning. ‘Let’s hook up the large TV to the computer and we could go on holiday tonight’. What a great idea we all felt. Visiting places, we love and remembering all the things we did and enjoyed just relaxing. We have set a date for Friday night family time and we are going to go on holiday. We all get to choose one place and we will bring snacks and drinks for our mini holiday tour.
I asked my son if he often does this type of visit? “Yes, I like to go to really obscure places and the other day I went to the middle of nowhere in Russia to a little hut that only had trees around”. He’s been to cities, looked around Barcelona and enjoys New York as you get to see every thing on street view.
If you have a good imagination, lots of ideas and a keen mind to explore why not just take your self off for a lunch break to your favourite beach, have a drink and snack and pull up a chair at the beach bar to order your favourite food. Writing this for you I have decided to go back to India to Manali where I did my gap placement when I was 18 and have never returned. Why not? As I’m in lock down I might as well see how places with fond memories have developed and get those experiences again. I think I’m going to go to my favourite Tea shop next to the bus stop in the town or check out ‘Day star’ school where I worked as a student.
In my job as a counsellor at Just Be Human, I spend a lot of time working with the explicit memories of my clients but unfortunately these are often the sadder memories, the ones with worry. My son is not wanting to put lockdown into a sad memory in his life but taking this as an opportunity to make his own fun and spend time on happy memories. Engaging your imagination activates the front part of the brain and reduces anxiety as you’re not speculating on worry. It’s so important to help cultivate this tool for our children as it helps regulate their feelings and mood rather than always engaging in the processing part of the brain attached to language and reasoning.
There’s a lot more to the expression ‘lets chill’ as it’s not just physical but also mentally relaxing. My son has now joined me working in the office with his head phones on and laptop. I can see my son is now on google earth sitting in the sun, watching the waves at the beach and remembering the heat, the sounds and how he felt so relaxed on that holiday. A drink in hand and a smile on his face while he waits for the next lesson to start. I have to stop writing as I have to go exploring too, it looks so much fun.
I set the challenge to you all reading this and suggest you go somewhere that has fond memories, that you have not been to for ages and revisit those memories. You also have the opportunity to go somewhere you have never been before and could one day visit after all these lock downs. See this as research time. Share this with family and from now on were going to have Holiday Friday…..Enjoy