A Monthly Wellness Column
By Amie Mignatti
Summer break is finally here! Many of us have been waiting endlessly for this time to come, but others of us are not so sure how excited we are. Which category do you fall into, and how can you make summer break “fun,” even if it seems like a lot more work?
Those with school aged children have six weeks to fill- maybe some will be able to take a six week trip somewhere and visit relatives and grandparents, and maybe others will only have a few weeks away due to working parents. Some of us have preschool aged children and the kindergarten is closed anywhere from two to six weeks- so we’ve also got some time to fill.
So what do we do to give our children and ourselves a well deserved break?
For those of us who are here and have to work, there are plenty of camps for preschool aged children (generally aged five and up), in both German and English, with a variety of offerings from the outdoors to circus events to horse riding. These are a great way for our children to have fun while we are able to work without needing to take a holiday day to stay home.
For those of us who don’t have to work and will be spending some of the time here- there are a lot of fun ways to spend the days. There are many lakes to visit accessible with public transport, as well as a variety of swimming pools in Munich. There’s the Children’s Museum, the Deutsches Museum for kids, and the Transportation Museum for rainy days or for something different. You can visit the libraries (my favorite is the Gasteig) and spend hours reading books with your child.
The Isar is a beautiful place to spend an afternoon: find a sunny (or shady) spot, pack a picnic, and play in the cool water. I often bring paints and bubbles to the river and paint rocks with my daughter- it’s lots of fun! There are also countless parks and playgrounds for a picnic or a day outdoors on the bike. How about meeting up with some girlfriends (or even just by yourself) and taking a bike ride to a part of the city you have never explored, enjoying the newness of your own city? There are many random Biergartens to have a break at, with food and drink for everyone.
Days at home can also be relaxing and fun. I love to sleep in (which means until about 8am these days), make pancakes and then play games with my daughter, or go for a nature walk or bike ride, not planning anything, but just letting the day unfold as it does. These days are also so necessary (for all children), days where they don’t have a plan, but rather let life happen slowly. Our day to day lives can be (and have become) so hectic and full, that fully stepping back and unplugging may be all that we need.
Our perception of the holidays has a lot to do with how they turn out. Are we stressed out even thinking about how we’ll have our children at home for weeks on end? By changing our mentality into a “staycaytion” for us and them, we can hopefully switch the way the days turn out. Maybe we won’t get done all that needs to get done (but really, how necessary is that?), but we can enjoy the time with the little people we’ve created.
We can also call on our friends to help out: we can do a swap and one day the children go to one house and on the other to ours, or we can do things together. If we feel we need a break, then we can rally the troops (girlfriends, babysitters, etc.) and take one. Get a massage, go swimming alone: take the time that you need for yourself.
Summer should not be a time of stress, but one of joy, longer days, a looser schedule and flexibility. Sometimes it takes time to get into this flow after months of being super planned and organized. It’s a wonderful feeling, though, to truly let go and let things happen on their own and in their own time. You can be on “island time” anytime!
I hope that you have a relaxing time, wherever you may be!
Amie Mignatti is a free spirited woman with her feet on the earth and her heart in the stars. After traveling the world for many years, she landed in Munich where she wears many different hats: yoga teacher, nature coach, outdoor educator for children, English teacher. She also runs personal development courses for women in nature. She and her family are happiest outdoors with friends and campfires.
Check out her blog here.