After long months at work, it’s time for a well-deserved holiday. However, not everyone is able to really enjoy their holiday time. According to statistics, we waste as much as 30 per cent of our holidays and only 13 per cent of employees feel really rested when they return to work. How can we really utilise and enjoy that long-awaited free time?
Stress has two distinct facets – and small doses mobilize us to action, but in excess, they definitely hinder daily functioning. One of the most common causes of stress is work, in which most of us spend around 160 hours a month. In order to maintain health and balance between personal and professional life, we absolutely need to rest, so we can maintain a sense of contentment and happiness. However, in order to be effective, the holiday itself requires proper preparation.
Get a good night’s sleep
One of the best things about a holiday is turning off that hated alarm clock and having a long, carefree sleep. This doesn’t mean, however, that if we want to feel rested, we should spend all day in bed (although one day during a two-week holiday won’t hurt). Specialists say that for good rest, it’s enough to wake up in the right sleep phase. One sleep cycle lasts about 90 minutes and consists of four phases: falling asleep, shallow sleep, deep sleep and the REM phase in which we dream. So, if we wake up after 7-8 hours, the body sends a signal to us that it has regenerated and is ready for action, so further napping is not needed. Especially given that with every hour, there is a chance that someone or something will awaken us in the wrong sleep phase which means during the day we will feel tired despite long hours of rest.
Our advice: If you suffer from insomnia or cannot tolerate travelling, you can buy a quilt or a sensory blanket for adults. They have a special, heavier filling of tiny glass beads which positively affects the nervous system and reduces the amount of secreted cortisol in favour of increased production of serotonin and oxytocin. As a result, we fall asleep faster and wake up more rested. It’s worth a try!
Don’t make detailed plans
When we are at work, we have to plan our day to be as fruitful as possible. Similarly, we should do the same during the holidays, but for pleasure and relaxation. To make the best use of our time for regeneration, we can prepare a list of activities that we would like to accomplish. However, try not to “overload” the schedule and always leave room for the unexpected. Also, remember that planning does not mean waking up at 6 am to meet all the proposed activities. Sometimes it’s worth letting go of a planned excursion and give yourself more time for carefree walks or reading a book on the day bed.
Our advice: Take it easy and let yourself be carried away by spontaneity and your whims. That’s what holidays are for! If, however, setting the boundaries between activities and leisure is not your strength, divide your trip into two parts; task-oriented days with sightseeing schedules and carefree days just for lazing around. It is worth sticking to such a plan!
Forget about work and responsibilities
Research shows that as much as 40 per cent of us find it really difficult to forget about work during our holidays. Despite the time spent relaxing, we check business emails, answer calls, and sometimes even return from holidays for an emergency situation. Being too close to our place of employment doesn’t allow for regeneration, so may cause us to keep thinking about work despite being on holidays which can lead to a sense of professional burnout. That is why before the holidays, you should complete all professional matters and don’t start new ones because the awareness of impending work will certainly not let you rest. During the holidays it is also worth having a digital detox, that is detachment from mobile devices, especially the business ones.
Our advice: Notify all colleagues and business associates about your impending absence by email and appoint a substitute contact person. Leave the business phone in the drawer at home and uninstall any business apps temporarily – don’t worry, you can re-install them later.