There are a few small things that can be done so as not to let anxieties about returning to work or school spoil a chunk of a holiday. While thoughts of returning to duty are effectively banished from one’s mind during the initial stages of leave or recess, as the new year comes closer many people’s minds will be jolted back to the looming reality which can detract from what should be a happy, carefree time.
Thoughts of returning to the office can cause feelings of anxiety, dread and even depression, but by taking a few small empowering actions now and during the holidays, going back can be considerably less stressful.
As the saying goes: “If you haven’t started planning for the next year, you are already behind. So now is the time to tie up all the loose ends and get a plan in motion that will see you enter the new year with no remnants from the previous year sapping your energy, and with a vision for growth that will excite and inspire you throughout your break”.
In recent years, a UK survey among 2500 people conducted by the Institute of Leadership and Management, showed that for many people, going on holiday actually increased their stress.
Many South Africans would be in the same boat, but that positively making the transition between the old year and new.
To make the most of one’s holidays, one should:
Tie up loose ends
Make sure that all the jobs, tasks and projects scheduled for this year are done and dusted before you leave for the holidays.
Make a to-do list for the remaining worktime in this year and take satisfaction in ticking off one after the next task. Clear your inbox and remember to set up an out-of-office reminder on your last day.
Plan for a digital hiatus
Ensure that people know where to reach you in case of an emergency, but resolve to stay away from “just quickly checking in” at work, or spending most of your days on social media.
Give your brain a real chance to shut off and rest. You will find that when you give your mind this kind of space, all kinds of new ideas and visions for the future will find their way into the space which used to be filled with status updates and online rage.
Have something meaningful to look forward to
Knowing that once your break is over you will be returning to another year of more of the same – and even more of the same – can be a real downer.
For human beings to grow and become more self-actualised, each year must allow new opportunity for growth. During your time off, take stock of your direction. Are you doing what you love? Is there something else you would like to explore? Perhaps you can start exploring that by joining a short course or signing up for a programme? Taking a step in the direction you want to be going, however small, will put a new spring in your step.
Start doing something new during your break
Whether it be starting to train for your first 5K run, starting a blog, or learning a new language, doing something fun and constructive will immediately get you energised and inspired.
The trick is to not while away your precious days with eating, partying and sleeping day after day. While there is certainly space for that, a confidence-building activity and a vision for the future will do much more to restore your mind and body, and help you start the new year in the way you would like it to end – on a high note.
Dr Felicity Coughlan is the Director of The Independent Institute of Education.