Whether you're glued to your desk most days or have honed the work/life balance, we all need to take a break at some point. The end of the year is a great time to reflect on your achievements and recharge. But while December is when many of us are trying to wind down, it can also be a chaotic time, with holiday festivities filling up our calendars and mounting pressure to get everything done.
Here are some tips on how you can make the most of your upcoming break.
Plan your holiday
Consider what you want your holiday to look like - do you want your days to be filled with exciting things to do, or will you take it easy? You don't need to plan every aspect of the holiday (often the spontaneous moments are the best), but knowing in advance what you want to do, will help you fit in everything.
Think about your budget as well. Will you need to save ahead of the holiday or be more prudent in your spending while you're away? Determining this in advance will reduce stress on your actual holiday.
Wrap everything up at work
It will be difficult to unwind if you're still thinking about those emails you'll need to send when you get back to the office, or that half-finished project you didn't complete.
While it might not be possible to wrap everything up at work, prioritise your tasks so you can tick as many things off your list as possible. The Eisenhower Matrix (also known as the Urgent - Important Matrix) is helpful for determining which tasks you need to do and which can wait.
Decide how contactable you want to be over your holiday. In your Out of Office response, list the dates you'll be away from and the contact details of anyone who can be contacted in your absence. If you'll periodically check your emails, decide whether you want this to be known or not.
Set and maintain boundaries
Whether you completely stop working or check in every now and then, avoid the temptation to constantly check your emails. While checking your messages may only take a few minutes, once you do so you're drawn away from where you are in the present and are right back in the office. And by responding, you're setting an expectation that you're always reachable, making it difficult for you to ever switch off.
Make time for family and friends
The holiday period is perfect for spending quality time with friends and family members you don't see as regularly. You'll get the chance to create happy memories together and catch up on what is happening in your loved ones' lives.
Recharge and engage your passions
Perhaps you love reading but can't recall the last time you finished a book, or can no longer find time for a round of golf. Carve out time to do what you love on your holidays.
This is also the perfect time to try your hand at something you've wanted to try out but haven't yet had the chance. If you're heading to the beach, sign up for a stand up paddle boarding or surfing class, try skiing if you're at the slopes, or participate in a local cooking class if you're overseas. You may find a new passion which will then always remind you of this holiday.
Allow yourself to do nothing
You might have big plans for what you want to do for your time away, or you might simply be looking forward to doing nothing. If you are feeling burnt out and stressed, a holiday is the perfect time to just take it easy - no to-do list, no pressure.
Whether your break is just a day or two, or several weeks, taking a holiday can replenish your physical and mental health, increasing your efficiency in the long-run.
Enjoy your well-earned break!