Summer holidays are here and it’s time for a well-earned rest. To recharge the batteries so you can return to work come September re-energised and be in a position to work smarter. Or so you hope!
After a holiday we expect to feel fresh and energised but for many people they can return to work feeling anything but refreshed. This is because it isn’t feasible to have a long enough period of time to switch off completely and recalibrate sufficiently. Plus, with two weeks or less for many, there is a tendency to overload the diary to max the time off work. This gives you very little space to do nothing and properly take a breath or rest. Furthermore, if you are juggling kids and holidays, there is often little down time and many parents return to work saying they are off back to work for a rest.
Here are five suggestions to think about now as you head off on holidays and during the summer slower months to help you return to work fresh and energised.
- Make the most of the times when you have nothing demanding to do
Having time to sit and drink coffee in the garden with nothing but the birds for company. Grabbing half an hour to read your book in daylight rather than as a nodding dog in bed. Catching up on Netflix or clearing the Sky TV planner of all those shows you wanted to see but haven’t got around to. Seeing a friend for a chat with no eye on the clock. These are thing which you think you would grab with both hands if you could when you are overwhelmed at work, but in reality most of us find when we do have the time to do very little, or let’s say less demanding things, we don’t take it. Why?
We fear being judged by others for being lazy
We have a tendency to wear busy like badge of honour
Often there is a tendency for ‘Idleness aversion’ to kick in, which simply means our brain is wired to think of something else to do to avoid boredom and ‘wasting’ time
Parental guilt can kick in when doing nothing yourself means those little ones are doing nothing (or let’s be honest likely to have the heads in a device) spurring us into ‘doing’ mode
Plus, there is always something which needs to be done on the list…
Feeling the need to be always busy when you are a busy person has to be tackled by self-discipline. It needs you to drop your high standard and personal expectations which can lead you to find another task to do. It requires you to stop comparing yourself with others and striving for perfect. To grab hold of the longer-term benefit for properly resting and anchoring to this when any guilt or self-judgement hits.
- Device/ social media detox
Don’t just set the intention but act on the deep sense of a need for a break from screens and social media. Set some summer time / holiday rules for yourself and those around you which mean you commit to time off the phone, avoid the unnecessary scrolling and the irritations which can disrupt and disturb by reading just that one email. Good ideas are to set specific times to look at your phone, to set a 5-minute timer for how long, delete social media apps for a period and keep devices out of sight and out of reach to take away any temptation.
- Eat & sleep well
Great food and drink are often cited as what makes a good holiday so let’s not get too sensible and quash the enjoyment, but be conscious of over indulging so that you don’t sleep well, or your body becomes sluggish. Even on holiday we need balance and to be aware of what goes in our body and how it will affect how we feel there and then and in a few weeks. Moderation is the word to keep in mind. During the summer with lighter evenings and holiday vibes there is the tendency to go to bed much later and lie in. Keeping regular sleeping hours is known to be the best way to ensure we get the rest needed so try and avoid disrupting your sleeping patterns too much.
- Plan your diary & prioritise
Scheduling time is the best way to make sure you maximise your time. Schedule everything including the downtime. Take the pressure and the rushing out of a day by being clear on where you want to be, what you want to be doing and how you can do it without exhausting yourself. Planning your holiday effectively means you’ll do all you want without any last-minute rushing to cram everything in in the last few days which leave you needing another holiday. It also means clearer decision on what really needs to be done can be made. The list maybe long but does it all need to be done? Could things be delegated, deferred or even dumped? Get clear on what you want in your day based on where it sits in your priorities and you’ll free more space and take pressure off yourself enabling you to relax more.
- Read for personal growth
Books are a great source of personal growth and can inspire and energise you. There are so many ways that you can use reading to your advantage during the holidays. It helps you switch off but pick the right book and you’ll open up a great chance to develop yourself. Maybe it’s a self-help book to tackle a specific are challenge, a biography to get inspired from real life experience, learnings and perspectives, a subject you are interested in knowing more about, career development ideas, spirituality to connect with the inner guide or health and fitness to understand and motivate yourself. Take time to indulge in reading with purpose.