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Switch off from work this Christmas - how to prepare to relax!

By Rachel Coffey, Nov 3 2017 02:58PM

We’ve all done it, made great plans for our well earned time off, then ended up so busy and stressed beforehand that its only three days into our holiday that we even begin to unwind. Fear not! With a little planning ahead we can make the most of all of our holiday. Here are some tips below to help you prepare to relax;


Let people know well in advance when you are going to be away, 3 to 4 weeks in advance. Then remind them with a week to go. So many people leave it right up until the last minute to inform others that they are going to be unavailable and next thing you know there is a queue around the block of people making demands and requests, just as you were planning to wrap things up. Get in there first and communicate clearly with them and don’t be tempted to send out a reminder the day before. If they only realise at that point let them know you communicated it twice and, with a gracious smile, point them in the direction of someone else who can help.

Deadlines and meetings

If at all possible schedule your final deadlines for the day before you are going to finish. This way if things overrun you have a day left to deal with it and it won’t end up eating into your holiday.

In terms of meetings, again, no scheduled meetings on the last day. People often do it as they think it will put a nice full stop on things before they have their break. In reality it just leaves a list of action points hanging over their head all holiday. Finish things off and spend your last day tidying up.

Being the last person in the office is a gamble

Its a classic thought, work right up to Christmas eve, there’ll be hardly anybody there, finish early. Possibly. Just remember though, if you’re one of the last people there and things don’t quite go to plan with a job or there are last minute things to do, you will be one of the few people left to deal with it. Working full steam ahead up until the last minute isn’t going to help you switch off.

Have a cut off point

Whenever you actually finish, have a cut off point in your head after which point you will officially be on holiday. If you are going away, it might be from dinner the night before, work is done and you are off. I have seen so many people sitting on a plane, desperately trying to send that last email before the wifi gets switched off. That’s fine if you want to spend your holiday working. If not choose a cut off point beforehand and stick to it.

Prepare your mind

Its fine to rely on your ical telling you you are ‘on holiday’ Ping! the second holiday time hits. What this won’t do, however, is filter into your subconscious mind, well, not until a few days later. In order to prepare yourself properly, do something the weekend before that will alert your brain to the fact you are going to be taking time off. This can be anything from buying a new outfit or luggage to printing off tickets or planning a celebratory meal. This preparation signals to your mind that there is going to be a change. Over the next few days it can start to gear up to it so it won’t be as much of a shock when it happens. It also means that you’ll begin to look forward to it too!

There are other ways too that you can help yourself really enjoy your time off, which I may detail in a later post. For now though, just remember that if you prepare yourself for your time off and manage the expectations of others, you’ll have the very best chance of enjoying all of your holiday right from the start!

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