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How To Switch Off, Relax & Enjoy Your Holiday (Without Worrying About Work)

You've planned your rough itinerary (even if it's lying on a sun lounger for a week), booked the tickets, packed your suitcase and set your out of office. It's time to switch off, relax and enjoy your holiday...

But when you've been working flat out for so long, it isn't always easy to relax.

Worries about having a bulging inbox on your return, or stressed colleagues who curse you for not being there to answer a tiny question and looming or ongoing project deadlines are all too common.

So, the temptation is often to 'have a quick peek', or 'just take this one quick call', but when people at work know you are essentially willing to be on call during your holiday, they stop respecting your boundaries.

After all, everything is important to someone, so where do you draw the line?

Being confident to set firm boundaries here is essential, and unless taking the call or checking your email means the difference between life and death for someone, don't give in to the temptation.

You teach other people how to treat you by what you allow, what you stop and what you reinforce.

Tony Gaskins

Some people worry that things at work simply can't function without them for a few days. Maybe that's ego talking or maybe you and your team need to set some time aside this autumn for team coaching or skills training to increase trust.

Regardless, when you are on holiday, try to trust your colleagues and tell yourself that they will be able to handle whatever comes up confidently and competently.

Another temptation is to post endless pics and videos on social media. But unless your notifications are all strictly off, this often means your peace is constantly being interrupted by likes, compliments and questions.

Try a digital detox and detach from social media while you are away. You don't need to know what's going on back home, and endless notifications every time anyone likes or comments on your holiday pics prevents you from staying present and enjoying the moment. So put down your phone, limit technology & embrace slow living.

We often put ourselves under immense pressure to have 'the perfect holiday' and consequently stress and frustration can arise when things are not 'perfect'. Try to keep it real and let go of any unrealistic expectations you have.

Be mentally prepared for unexpected changes and problems. That doesn't mean your should be pessimistic, or overly anxious, it just means you acknowledge and accept that things sometimes go wrong.

Try to shift how you think about problems, especially those you have little control over, can help limit your frustration and stress. Take a deep breath and see if you can spot a different solution, or find the funny side of the situation.

It is common to experience the occasional negative thought or worry while you are away, but sometimes it can feel like your brain was just waiting for you to relax so it can bombard you with them.

Instead of allowing your mind to be consumed by them, put your worries on hold . To do this you need to acknowledge them, write them down in a notebook and then let them go; telling yourself you can come back to them and deal with them later when you get home.

For more persistent thoughts and worries, you might find my downloadable e-book 'Free Your Thoughts' helpful. It will help you identify the common automatic negative thought trap you are stuck in and gives you guidance to overcome it.

Finally, make sure that you decide on your holiday priorities before you leave and do things that you truly enjoy. Eat and drink well, embrace slow living and do whatever you feel like doing and normally don't have time for.

So if you want to eat pancakes with chocolate every day for breakfast, have a 3 hour siesta, and ignore everyone so you can read your book; or if you want to charge around historic sites, go hiking or make friends with the locals, give yourself permission, ditch the guilt and enjoy it.

So in summary, do your best to;

  • Set firm boundaries.

  • Trust your colleagues.

  • Detach from social media.

  • Keep it real.

  • Let go of unrealistic expectation.

  • Acknowledge and accept that things sometimes go wrong.

  • Shift how you think about problems.

  • Put your worries on hold.

  • Decide on your holiday priorities.

  • Do things you truly enjoy.

  • Eat and drink well.

  • Embrace slow living.

  • Give yourself permission.

  • Ditch the guilt.

  • Enjoy it!

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