Over the festive period, you’ll likely consume plenty of mince pies, attend a party or two and catch up with old friends during the time away from work. But don’t forget, it’s also a time to de-stress and unwind, and there’s a fine art to making sure you do that right. If you’re so connected to your work, you might find it hard to switch off. Maybe you left a project unfinished and it’s playing on your mind while you should be resting up.
Fretting about what’s to come in the new year leaves us unable to enjoy a time that many of us use to recharge the batteries. Ensure you’re ready for the Christmas break with this collection of hints and tips to help you unwind, switch off and enjoy yourself when work’s over and done with for another year.
1. Make a to-do list
Perhaps the biggest and best thing you can do before you finish for the break is create a to-do list that includes everything you need to check off before downing tools. Decide what needs to be done now and what can wait ‘til the new year, but be as strict as possible. The key is getting as much done without over-working yourself.
Once you’ve drawn up a checklist, it’s important to stick to it as closely as you can. If you can finish everything ahead of schedule, then you can head into the festive break with little on your plate to worry about.
2. Plan for your return
Equally important is clearly laying out what needs to be done on your return. A mountain of tasks that you’ll need to do once January’s started is only going to play on your mind when you’re trying to relax at home. But knowing what you need to do – and ensuring there’s as little as possible – is crucial.
Having a list of tasks to do on your return ensures you can hit the ground running, minimising the time it might take to get back into the swing of things when the January blues have kicked in.
3. Avoid checking emails
When you’re relaxing over the holidays, try not to be tempted by a quick peek at any work-related emails or messages. Bringing work home with you is only going to get in the way of switching off. Log out of all the accounts you’ll usually be signed into; it’s a symbolic ‘switching off’ transition that brings your time at work to a close for the time being.
4. Don’t overcommit
While your schedule might be looking a little busier than usual, don’t feel pressured to attend everything that’s happening through the week. If you do, you might not have the time to put your feet up and relax. Don’t be afraid to decline an engagement if you don’t feel up to it. Take a break and suggest meeting up in the new year when things aren’t quite so busy.
5. Break out the games
This may be one for a particular kind of person, but taking some time to put down the phone or tablet and re-connecting over a good old board game is well worth doing. Modern handheld devices can be antisocial at this time of year, so why not get your family or friends together and play a classic board game from your youth? It gets everyone together, takes your mind off your work and harkens back to a time before the digital age took over everything.
6. Watch your favourite films
There’s nothing quite like slumping down on the sofa, a glass of your favourite drink in hand and binge-watching your favourite TV show or catching up on some quality festive films. Really, it’s the ultimate ‘switch off’ activity you can do. With the lights down low and the fireplace roaring away, now’s the perfect time to get cosy and forget about work for a few days.
7. Get outdoors
If the weather allows it, then stretching your legs and feeling the brisk winter air is highly recommended; it’s a natural mood enhancer and a great way to take a break from the chaos of the festive season. Look for spots with superb scenery and a peaceful, quiet atmosphere and get lowering the stress levels and blood pressure in the process. Plus, after all the eating, you’ll need a reason to burn off a few calories.
8. Plan something fun
In all of this, it’s important not to confuse ‘switching off’ with ‘doing nothing’. Yes, a binge-watch session is worth doing, but if all you have planned is sitting around in your pyjamas, then chances are you’ll start getting bored very quickly. Give yourself something to look forward to so you can get into the swing of your time off and enjoy yourself. The worst thing you can do is feel like you didn’t make the most of your time off once you’re back in the office in January.
9. Treat yourself
Though the festive break is a time when we’re generous with others, don’t forget, it’s also one where we should treat ourselves, too. Take some time off for yourself and head to a spa for a relaxing massage, whether it’s by yourself, a friend or your partner. Make a day of it and head somewhere with beautiful views and delicious food – a sure-fire way to unwind before you head back to work.
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