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Why You Should Unplug From Work On Your Holiday

Why You Should Unplug From Work On Your Holiday

De-stressing and recharging your mental and physical abilities is crucial, writes Layla Halabi, from Learnactive.

Everyone knows that stress is bad for you. Heart disease, lowered immunity, gastro-intestinal disorders, spinal problems, and even cancer have been linked to sustained periods of high stress. At the same time, we are under pressure to perform. Our managers want ‘more’: more work, more creativity, more impact, more commitment, more … everything. As a result, most people do not unplug completely when they go on their annual vacations. In fact, for many professionals, unplugging is not even an option.

Here are some tips for de-stressing and recharging your mental and physical abilities so you can do more when you return.

Before you leave for your vacation

• Finish any pending assignments or projects
• Hand-over any ongoing work to a colleague with a detailed explanation for how to handle emergencies.
• Give your manager and the colleague who will be handling your work copies (hard or soft) of any information or documents they might need in your absence.
• Explain to both your manager and your colleague how you will handle any work needs while away (more on that below).
• Set-up your out-of-office notification on your email.

While on Holiday

It is difficult for most of us to resist the temptation of checking emails and responding to them especially with the increased connectivity of today’s work. But your holiday is the time you recharge your body and mind. Research has shown that people who take time to relax and spend time on enjoyable activities are more productive and successful. So think of your holiday as an investment that enables you to do better.

• Disconnect your work e-mail service completely. If you cannot, set it up so that it is not on automatic push notification but only collects e-mails at certain times of the day.

• Give yourself an hour each day to handle work. The exact time will depend on the time zone you are in, but whatever the time, do not opt for checking your work emails first thing in the morning.

• If you have a personal phone number in addition to your work phone, leave your work phone at home and check it only during the hour you’ve allocated for work. If not, try to not answer work calls. I know it’s difficult, but it can be done with a bit of willpower.

Your Holiday Schedule

Many of us do not plan our holidays nor do we think about how our days will be like. If you are to get the most from your time away from work, you need to have a few strategies in place to recharge.

• Start your day on a positive note. Don’t rush to check emails or work when you wake up. In fact, don’t rush to do anything when you wake up. Take time to enjoy the easier pace by doing things you enjoy. Even the simple act of sipping your coffee or tea quietly can have a significant positive impact on your overall wellbeing.

• Drink plenty of water. Research has shown that stress affects hydration levels in the body and that people who drink six glasses or more of water each day are generally less stressed and healthier.

• Be present. Many people allow their minds to dwell on work while on holiday. Push a mental brake and focus your mind on the moment so that you can fully enjoy being with your family and/or friends without the ghost of work haunting the back of your mind.

• Unwind. Take time at the end of each day to reflect back on the day and to unwind. For many people, the end of the day is ‘shower and sleep’ or simply ‘sleep.’ Take at least 30 minutes to sit quietly and unwind at the end of the day before you sleep. You will sleep better and feel better when you wake up.

• Make sure you get enough sleep. This is the time when you can, and should, get your eight hours of sleep. Allow you mind to relax and recharge by giving it the much needed rest.

• Don’t be a slave to others. For many, going back home means having to meet family obligations and endless invitations that seem only to exhaust us. Family is important, but it needn’t become an hectic cycle of dinners, lunches and get togethers. If you have an extended family, plan on one or two occasions where you can bring them all to fulfill your obligation and devote the rest of your time to your immediate family and close friends.

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