The days leading up to a holiday can be stressful, with handovers at work to complete, decisions on what to pack and airport transfers to arrange. A recent study found that the average Briton worries for up to a week before the holiday, fears which can actually spill over to the holiday itself as work emails are checked and replied to.
How can you ensure that you can switch off during your holiday in this hyper-connected world and reap the benefits that practising mindfulness brings? After all, it’s when we let our subconscious minds take over that we regain wonder and allow our most creative thoughts to flow.
Inspired by this Guardian article, here are the top five things you can do before and during your holiday to ensure that your worries disappear behind the horizon with the setting sun:
1. Write a list of handover notes
Experts recommend writing your responsibilities down on paper to take a load off your mind. This list will enable you to prioritise what can wait until your return and if there is anything to be delegated in the meantime. Just this one step will mean that, on leaving the office, when you turn your out-of-office on you can switch off.
2. Remove your work email inbox from your phone
Checking your work email whilst away will only bring back the everyday stresses from which we all want to disconnect. Temporarily removing your work inbox is a good way to beat temptation. For those of you who would find it even more stressful to return to an overflowing work inbox, limit yourself to checking work emails for a specific amount of time: for example, only for 30 minutes in the morning or in the evening, allowing you the better part of a full day to relax and unwind.
3. Allow your creative mind to wander
FMRI brain scan studies show that it’s when we let our mind wander that we’re more able to have creative breakthroughs as our brainwaves sit in beta waves which allow for a state of creative ‘flow’. So switch off and go for a bike ride, paddleboard in the sea, stick your nose in a good book or sip a daiquiri underneath a palm tree.
4. Regain time by limiting your phone usage
Too many of us have fallen into the habit of associating downtime with smart phone use. With so many digital platforms vying for our attention, ensure to limit your phone use to one or two set periods a day. By being strict with yourself you will be surprised by just how much more free time you have.
5. Reflect on your goals
Take some time out where possible to think about your personal and professional achievements and what you would like to focus on in future. It’s surprising how a simple change of scene can help shift our focus inwards, help define our goals for the future and let a new sense of calm radiate out from within.
So book those days off, switch off and return ready to throw yourself confidently into your next task.