Stay in Holiday Mode

Posted on Feb 6, 2014

Have you noticed how long it takes to wind down mentally when you start your holidays?

It’s probably because we are running in top gear most of the time to cope with our busy lives.

And whilst we may not be able to change being busy, we can change our approach and hang onto that more relaxed feel of the holidays.

Try these tips:

Plan the night before – By the time you wake in the morning, it can sometimes feel like your day is already racing ahead of you. Spend ten minutes the night before to work out what you need to accomplish tomorrow and make sure your bag etc is packed and ready. It’s a little thing but it will make the mornings more relaxing.

Tune out – It’s a common habit to turn on the radio or tv in the morning. However this can introduce more mental activity into your morning (when you are still waking up) and you are also taking on all of the problems of the world before you’ve had your breakfast! If you need to have background noise turn on your favourite album or catch up with your family. Avoiding the tv and radio may feel like you’re missing out but are you really?

Ditch your routine – Changing your routine can break the mental association these tasks have with work, as well as any associated stressors. Take a different route to work, change your meetings to afternoons instead of mornings, move your desk around, eat your lunch at a different location etc. All of these things can help break the rut of responding to work in a certain way and make you feel freer.

Improve your surroundings – Think about when you were on holiday and how being in a tropical destination or wandering through green landscapes makes everything feel more relaxed. Our environment can colour our mood, so surround yourself with things that give you pleasure and make you feel less like you are at work (whether that’s photos, music, plants or items from your travels) and make you feel less like you are at work.

Let go of your commitments – Take a good hard look at everything you have booked into your day and decide whether it’s time to start saying no to things. If you’re not enjoying certain commitments or activities then consider dropping them. It’s better to give your attention to some key things rather than half your attention to a whole pile of things. And remember there’s no law that says you have to sign up to everything!

Give yourself plenty of time – Whenever you promise to do something always leave time for the unexpected. This will make it possible for you to exceed the expectations you set with your clients and impress them (without the pressure of the clock ticking).

Relax and slow down – Do something fast and you are liable to make mistakes or miss something and rushing can add to your stress levels. However, if you just relax and systematically work through things you’ll be surprised how much you accomplish.

Turn off your phone – Sometimes when things get very busy and you feel your blood pressure rising, the best thing you can do is switch off your phone/computer and take a break for 10 mins. I know this may seem like 10 minutes you can’t do without, but the world will still be there again when you turn them on again. More importantly you will feel better and see things clearer.

Staying relaxed when the pressure is a challenge, but remember that rushing isn’t an effective way to work either (nor is it enjoyable!). Wouldn’t you rather be more effective by channelling a little of that holiday feeling?