Plan to switch off and relax this Christmas
We all look forward to taking time off work, but for some of us, managing to switch off and truly relax can be a real challenge and our work/life balance can become compromised.
Here are some tips to help get you ready to really enjoy that well-deserved break this year:
Clear the decks
Plan ahead for the best chance of a clean getaway. Inform people of your time off well in advance (around three to four weeks before) and then again with one week to go. Never send out a reminder the day before, however tempting, unless you want a flood of last-minute requests! In a similar vein, set deadlines for one to two days prior to your last day, that way if things overrun, you’ll have time to deal with it.
Meetings should be set with two to three days to go in order to avoid taking a catalogue of action points away with you. If you need an informal catch-up, make it just that and do it with as few people as possible. Put your out of office reply on moments before you leave, with a clear message informing people when you will be back and in the meantime who to turn to for help as you are going to have very limited, or no access to emails!
You need this holiday
So many people feel guilty for taking time out, however, taking a break is every bit as important as the work itself. The people who never allow themselves time to recharge their batteries are exactly the ones who end up burning out. Allowing our mind a change of scene also gets your creative thoughts flowing. It’s only by stepping away that we find fresh approaches and perspectives that spark new innovations and opportunities. If anyone is trying to put the pressure on, just remind yourself of this and feel good that you’ll be able to come back ready for the next challenge.
Prime your mind
Ever wondered why your head seems to arrive on holiday three days after you do? If we’ve been pinging off emails in the airport (or even worse, at our destination - even if that’s your dining room table!) your subconscious mind will have been working overtime - quite literally. Choose an exact point at which your holiday will start - when you step on the train or get home that night - and stick to it. No more emails, no more work calls. Prepare for it by actually imagining that exact moment a few days before it happens.
Imagine the relief and relaxation in full colour, and imagine clearly a specific action that will signify you are on holiday. Then when you get to that point, your mind will be far more accepting of the moment than if it sprung out of the blue!
Do something just for you
Christmas and holidays sound great and most people enjoy the time with family and friends, but they can whizz by leaving us feeling that we need a break at the end of them! Make sure you plan into your schedule an activity or some time that is either just for you or for you and someone special. It doesn’t matter what it is, so long as it’s something that you truly enjoy, whether that’s going on a hike or sitting by the fire with a nice drink and a good book. It will allow you to enjoy the time with everyone else far more readily and give you space to breathe!
For all of these to work, we need to stick to them. Telling others you aren’t available and then being available, just undermines our message and our commitment to ourselves to enjoy a time free of stress. If you know in advance that you’ll be needed, plan it in and contain it to that pre-planned time. If you stress about being unavailable, let one person you trust know your schedule and give them a particular way to contact you if need be. Otherwise, prepare your mind, plan ahead and make the most your time away from work this Christmas!
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