You might have booked your break, but do you really know how to make the most of your summer holiday?
Holidays are wonderful, stressful things. We spend months looking forward to them, saving up our pennies and pounds for the ideal getaway, yet we can come back from them feeling unrefreshed and unrewarded.
It’s such a confusing situation that a study showed people actually feel more relaxed before they go on holiday than after they return. So what can we do to make sure our yearly breaks are truly rewarding?
Only Book Holidays You Know You’ll Enjoy
Think of your holiday as a birthday meal. Let’s say your favourite Friday evening treat is a gloriously rich and sticky Chinese takeaway.
Yet on your birthday, you feel you ought to splash out and try something different – so you book a table at a fancy-pants restaurant, all tiny portions and peculiar ingredients. Why? If you know you like something, stick with it. The same goes for holidays; if you’re a lounger, choose a beach. If you’re an adventurer, pick a mountain. But be honest about what you want, as familiar or foreign as it may be.
Tie Up Any Loose Ends At Work Before You Leave
Preparing for a good holiday starts before we even buy a ticket. Think about the dates you want to be away and what projects and colleagues might be affected by your absence. Make sure that you’ve left the office with your work completed and your role covered while you’re away; this will allow you to step back from work physically and mentally. Remind colleagues that you will not be available.
Start Your Break Before The Holiday Starts
Finishing work on a Friday and jetting off to sunnier climes on a Saturday is a bad idea. Yes, you’ll be on your way, but you’ll still be running over the workplace in your mind. Book your leave to start a couple of days before your flight out, to give yourself time to organise and get used to not being at work. Likewise, your return journey should bring you home a few days before you actually have to be in the office.
Don’t Contact Your Colleagues While You’re Out There
This is a big one and includes checking your work email. Understand that when you’re on holiday with family, especially your SO, you’ve made a commitment to spend time with them. By checking back in with the office, you’re prioritising professional relationships over personal ones. Don’t do this, since it takes you out of the moment and can make the people you care about unhappy. And family arguments always seem magnified when you’re paying to have them abroad.
Give Yourself Permission To Relax
That might sound a bit bonkers, but I believe all of us have this kind of mental ‘background noise’, especially if you’re a supervisor or manager at work, that keeps buzzing when we’re on the beach. We have to learn to tune this out by being lazy. You don’t have to take control or be in charge on holiday. You’re paying to relinquish responsibility. Learn how to relax. Order another drink, pop in your headphones and close your eyes.
Try Not To Use Social Media
Yes, you’re a hollowed-out husk of a human being that’s constantly seeking the validation of others by pretending your life is more exciting than it is. Aren’t we all? But by snapping selfies on holiday, you’re going back to the world you’re trying to escape from; stepping into the social circles you’re taking a break from. Spend your time enjoying the holiday instead of trying to show other people how much you’re enjoying your holiday.
And finally, plan your re-entry into the real world. At the risk of being over-practical, before you leave write a Post-it note for yourself about tasks for when you are back. Ask a friend to stock your fridge with a few tasty treats. Lay out a fresh set of clothes ready to wear for your first day back at work – you’ll feel as fresh as daisy and keep that holiday glow a little bit longer.
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Previously on The Euroffice Blog…