How to switch off on holiday

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How to switch off on holiday

8th May 2018

In an extract from her book “Overcoming Stress“, Kelly Swingler explains how to have a proper break when you go away: 

You need your holiday, you’ve been waiting for it and looking forward to it for so long but as the time approaches you become stressed about everything you have to do before you go.

You have three choices:

  • Work extra hard in the run up to your holiday
  • Do what you can and work whilst you are away
  • Do what you can, delegate the rest or leave it until you get back

Most people I know opt for one of the first two options, neither of which do them any good, and both of which prevent them from properly benefiting from their long-awaited break. If you don’t switch off and recharge while you’re away you’ll become even more stressed when you get back.

Interestingly, in addition to this, many of us come back from holidays in desperate need of another one because we haven’t rested properly while we were away. We often have to wake up and travel to and from our destination at strange hours of the day or night, we pack in too many activities, overindulge with food and alcohol and party until the early hours of the morning.

I’ve covered the importance of good quality sleep in “I worry too much” but it’s important even when you’re on holiday. Alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, sugar and other stimulants reduce the amount of quality sleep we’re able to get in a night and when we are away we tend to have more of these things.

The less sleep we have, the less we are able to empty our stress bucket; the less we empty our bucket the more stressed we get. So we can return from our holiday feeling worse than before we left and if you work while you’re away you’re never recharging in the way that you should be.

So don’t work or think about work while you’re on holiday. Give yourself a proper break and when you get back to the office you’ll be in a better position to handle the workload you left behind. Set your out-of-office with a message that says you have no access to your emails until the day after your return (this also gives you a day to get on top of your emails before more pile in) and switch off emails on your phone whilst you’re away. Don’t answer calls that you know are work related. Keep your diary clear for your first half day or full day back in the office. Don’t try to reply to all of the emails that have been received; instead arrange calls or meetings with the people who have sent the most emails for a more efficient update on all of the matters. Stay in control.

Returning to work fully refreshed and recharged will mean you are much better able to deal with the work you’ll be returning to, and you’ll deal with it in a calmer manner, meaning less stress after your holiday too.


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