The easiest thing in the world is to be lazy and do nothing. And doing nothing is what many of us do during holidays and vacations, especially summer vacation. Laziness is a trap that you can fall into without even realising it, and when you do realise it, it would have become a pattern of life for you and breaking away would require a lot of hard work.

So now that summer vacation has just started for most students, there is no better time to look at the bad habits you can fall into, besides laziness, so that you can prevent this precious time of more than two months from being ruined.

Summer vacation is for relaxing — but relaxing means recharging your body and mind, which doesn’t take more than a few days. After that, it is time to look into how productively you can use this time to do all the things you couldn’t do the rest of the year. And by the time the school opens, you should try to improve yourself, learn some new skills and become a better person than before this break.

body and mind, which doesn’t take more than a few days. After that, it is time to look into how productively you can use this time to do all the things you couldn’t do the rest of the year. And by the time the school opens, you should try to improve yourself, learn some new skills and become a better person than before this break.

How to spend your time productively is something that has been talked about in these pages many times before, you have been told by your parents and others about it too, and most of you already know it. So we will not talk about that today. Instead, we will look at some of the unhealthy habits you can pick up very easily and which can distract and stop you from utilising these holidays to the best of your abilities.

Everyone is susceptible to picking up bad habits, and after some time, these habits seems so right that you don’t realise they are bad for you. Or even if you do realise, you are just so comfortable with them that you don’t want to let go of them. Many of these habits can stand between you and success. They stop you from achieving your dreams and full potential. So before you reach this stage of no return, you need to nib them in the bud.

So let’s look at what these bad habits are and what you can do to not let them become a habit for you.

Ruining your body clock

Each person has a body clock, or 24-hour cycles in the biochemical, physiological and behavioural processes of our bodies, that function better in a routine, and when this routine is broken, with no assigned time for things such as sleeping, waking up, eating, playing, etc., the clock goes haywire.

For instance, due to having no fixed time to go to bed and to wake up in the morning, at 2am in the night you could be as bright as a button. As a result at 12 in the noon, you will have a hard time waking up. This happens when your body clock and our regular clocks are not in sync. You must have heard of the word jet leg, which people often suffer from when they travel to a different country in a different time zone. Then too, their body clock, or circadian rhythms that regulate sleep and other bodily functions, gets disrupted and they face various problems.

So you can let yourself be a bit lazy now and then, but do try to maintain a regular routine for doing everyday tasks such as sleeping, eating, playing, etc, so that you keep performing at your best, mentally and physically.

Don’t become sloppy

Long lazy days at home, especially when you are not going out for anything, can easily make you pay little attention to personal hygiene and grooming.

It is so easy to not change out of your comfortable night suit or pyjamas all day since you no longer have to dress up for school each morning. Combing the hair and other daily grooming activities that one indulges in on regular school days tend to get forgotten which cannot only make you look unkempt, but also make you feel lethargic. I have even observed some people giving up regular haircuts during vacations and they only rush to a barber when the holidays come to an end.

Many people have this misconception that they have to dress up for others, but in reality, we need to take care of ourselves for our own selves. When you take a bath, put on some nice body spray, wear fresh and ironed clothes and follow the appropriate grooming routine, you would be the one who will feel good more than anyone else.

No matter what kind of a day you have ahead of you, you must always start it in a clean and well-dressed way. You will soon realise that you are in a better mood, more active and alert when nice and fresh.

Avoid gadget and TV addiction

While this warning is a bit too late for some kids and adults, I still need to say it — don’t get addicted to screens! The world will not come to an end if you do not check your notifications and messages every couple of minutes.

With no homework and not going to school where you would have had to be without your phone, the easy access of the smartphone all day and nothing to occupy your mind leaves most of you spending all your time with gadgets and smartphones.

And then there are games that urge you to stay on to go up yet another level or add on to your score, so you play them for hours at a stretch and keep returning countless times all through the day. You should realise that these games are created to be addictive, that’s how they make money, while you think your are achieving brag-worthy scores, you are actually just wasting your precious time and losing your skills and focus.

Just a few years back it was television that got kids and adults hooked, especially during free days such as vacation, and now it’s personal gadgets that are tempting them to waste time in fruitless activities. Countless researches have proved the harmful effects of digital addiction, it is impossible to mention it all due to lack of space here, but one of the most obvious one is the physical inactivity it leads to. Just sitting or lying in one place for hours and only moving one’s fingers at the most is so harmful for the growing physical requirements of youngsters.

Your digital usage must be rationed and you are the only person who can do it. And you have to do it, both now during the summer vacation and always.

Don’t stop learning

During summer vacation you are getting a break from academic classes but not from learning and self-development. In fact, this relaxing and free time is the right time to do the extra learning — whether related to academics or just something to improve your knowledge base — which you can’t fit in your schedule the rest of the year.

Learning, growth and development never stop and shouldn’t stop. Learning is a continuous process, even when one has finished university and completed their education, the learning process should go on.

So if you just sleep away these precious months without learning anything new or doing any leisure reading, you are no better than a person who cannot read — because, according to one of my favourite writers Mark Twain, “A person who won’t read has no advantage over one who can’t read.”

These are just few bad habits you should avoid or things you should not do, both now and the rest of the year if you want to make something worthwhile out of your life. Remember, you only get one life, and time passes very quickly and it doesn’t come back, so don’t waste your life and your time.

Have a fun and productive vacation!

Published in Dawn, Young World, June 9th, 2019