// by Colin
A holiday can increase productivity, replenish attention, and encourage creativity.
When was the last time you completely unplugged from work and really relaxed while on holiday? Turned the phone off, let the emails go unanswered, allowed the “out of office” reply to do its job so that you could forget about yours, and took a real break from work?
Here are some tips for a good holiday, that you will return from refreshed.
Plan for it
To make the most of your holiday, you need to park everything work related for the duration. This requires some planning. In the week before your break, divert any new tasks to colleagues, your focus needs to be on completing what’s in front of you so that you may walk out that door secure in the knowledge that you have everything taken care of.
Write a simple and concise out of office email with contact information of your colleagues, the date of your return (add a day, you will need it when you return to focus on internal tasks, catching up on email etc).
Some people find it difficult to sever all ties during their time off. The lines have become blurred with technology, it’s easier now than ever before to be contacted. Your holiday time is yours to enjoy, disconnect from work, mute any work whatsapp groups, shut down the email, and do not answer the phone to clients, if you have set up your auto replies, you are covered.
This is also a great time to take a break from social media, seriously, what are you gonna miss?
Turn off the phone.
How to come back better
Don’t go straight back to work.
Take some time to get back into the groove of things. If you can, take a day or two to relax and recuperate before heading back into the office. Even if you need to tidy-up around the house or watch some daytime T.V. Give yourself at least a day to chill. Focus on giving your mind time to adjust. If you don’t, you’ll have stress on top of fatigue to deal with when you return.
Ease back into it.
Either the day before returning to work or the morning of returning to work, take some time to plan out your day. Make a to-do list with everything you know you need to do and prioritise what needs to be done.
Start with old tasks that you didn’t finish before you left, line up a few easy wins, this will give you a sense of normality. Focus on doing what you know how to do and what requires the least amount of time. Starting with small tasks will boost your confidence.
Don’t feel bad.
Take breaks during the day, going into full work-mode without any breaks is a recipe for a burnout. Don’t let guilt force you into believing that you have to work yourself into the ground because you were away. Be kind to yourself and remember that you deserved your holiday and the time it takes to recover from it.
What happens to your body when you take a holiday?
Your body is designed to unleash stress hormones like cortisol and epinephrine when it senses danger, the pressures of everyday life can set off the same reaction. This can make you more likely to get depressed, gain weight, sleep poorly, and have other health problems. Getting away from time to time can give your body a chance to repair some of this damage.
Your mood will be better during holidays than in your day-to-day life. That feeling can last even in the several weeks of planning before you leave. But it’s less clear if the post-trip buzz lasts as long. The key to happiness seems to depend on how often, not for how long, you get away.
Taking a break reduces your chances of dying from coronary heart disease. Stress is bad for your heart, taking a holiday allows you to relax and destress, the more you go, the better for your heart.
Neuroscientists have found that chronic exposure to stress can alter your brain structure and bring on anxiety and depression. When you take a holiday, feelings of calm arise and relieve stress, which allows the body and mind to heal in ways that it couldn’t if it were still under pressure.
Many who return from holiday are more focused and productive. Studies have found that chronic stress can make it difficult to achieve certain tasks and cause memory problems. Taking time off can be like getting a tune-up for the brain, improving your mental health and cognition.
So, enjoy your holiday, take more of them, and switch off while you are gone. Your boss, and your body will thank you.