As I write this it is “Bank Holiday Monday”. It’s not that long ago that designated Bank Holidays meant that not only did banks not open but nobody else went to work. Holiday entitlements are usually far more flexible now and there are very few days where it is reasonable to assume that nobody will be at work.
Flexibility on when to take a holiday/break from work is one thing but so many people say that taking time away from their desks is fraught with difficulty citing the rush to clear things before they go and the mountain of work they come back to as another layer of stress to add to everything else. That however – in my humble opinion in any case – is not a good enough reason not to grab the free time with both hands and use it beneficially.
Here are 5 suggestions of why you need to break from work
1 The world goes on without you…seriously. If you feel that you are the only one who can do something and everything will go wrong if you are not there there is nothing better than being away for a week or so to show that that is not the case. But if there are problems while you are away… read on
2 You can – and should – come off the treadmill. The reason things have not gone well in your absence might be as much to do with you than with your colleagues. Although there will be a temptation ( you might call it a necessity but think about that seriously for a moment) to jump straight back in and sort it with you huffing and puffing about how the good of the holiday has been undone you could instead take a moment to reflect on WHY it went wrong. What did your colleagues learn in your absence ? What suggestions do they have for doing things differently? What should you do first? What can wait? Remember a treadmill will keep you going – but you won’t be going anywhere!
3 Thinking is healthy. Back to the treadmill for a moment. Why do they put TV screens in front of them in gyms. Why do people take their headphones and music? Because being on a treadmill is boring, dull,uninspiring …. Maybe your job is too. Or maybe it feels that way because you have forgotten how to connect with it. In a short period of downtime you could make a note of what you used to like about your job, what you still do, what is less satisfying and how you can change that. Let your mind wander…and then you could order your next pina colada , slap on the sunscreen, pull on your hiking boots or pick up that novel and get on with the business of being away from work!
4 Being present is good for you . That is not the same as being there physically. It means taking time to smell the coffee, feel the sun, see the colours, listen to the noises .Whether you have taken a break away or having a staycation slowing right down and noticing what is going on around you can feel great. And if you are spending time with others taking that time to listen to each other, share stories and laugh…well what can be better than that?
5 We all need to switch off. Everybody has a reason for having their mobile technology nearby. It is important to be clear about that reason though. If you feel that you must have your phone with you at all times “to stay in touch with the children” will you let calls from colleagues go to voicemail? Why are they calling you during your holiday anyway? As so many handheld devices have email capability what would pull you to using it? If going cold turkey is a non- starter why not decide how often you will check in – once, twice a day maybe – and stick to it? Some people like to know what is waiting for them in their inbox when they return and if that’s you how do you plan to park those and not be drawn into answering? What about your social media? It might seem that sharing pics of you by the pool is a good idea but what else will grab your attention back home when you are checking in. Just be honest about whether you really need to be in touch or you are choosing to. And remember point#1 above!
So there you go – they are my thoughts. Happy to hear yours – as always – of course!