The line between work hours and personal life should be clearly defined to achieve a good work-life balance, especially during your holidays. Indeed, not resting properly during your time off can have major impacts on your physical and mental health. Learning to delegate and forget about work during your holidays is key to come back with your batteries fully charged.
Nowadays, the use of mobile phones has made it nearly impossible to be totally disconnected in our free time. The fear of missing out on something urgent, falling behind on our workload or overloading co-workers are some of the reasons we end up checking our emails or taking calls while on vacation. A LinkedIn survey in the US found out that 59% of workers check in with their bosses or work colleagues at least once a day while on holiday.
The imbalance between your professional and personal life can lead to the accumulation of home and job stress which could lead to other major health issues. The World Health Organization (WHO) already recognizes the well-known term “burnout” as a work-related disease.
Why do you need to unplug?
Constant tiredness, bad temper, inability to progress and job dissatisfaction are some of the consequences of not being able to detach from work.
The WHO defines burnout as a result from chronic workplace stress that has not been well managed. Dr. Herbert Benson, professor of mind-body medicine at Harvard Medical School, highlights that 60 to 90 percent of all doctor visits are due to stress.
Characterized by symptoms such as exhaustion, lack of concentration at work, negative feelings related to one’s job and low professional efficiency; if sustained over time, such burnout, can trigger increased heart rate, blood pressure and muscle tension.
New technologies have improved the flow of communication significantly, but they have also deteriorated people’s quality of life and health. Therefore, it is important to remember that we are not machines, and that physical and mental rest are necessary.
Out of Office
Many people struggle to detach from work, but it is crucial if we want to avoid fatigue and keep productivity at its peak. We are more efficient when we are well rested and have taken some time for ourselves. A study conducted in the Netherlands showed that people who can physically and emotionally detach from work demonstrated better sleep cycles, increased concentration and less negative emotions.
When you take time to disconnect, you achieve greater mental capacity to bring creativity into work.
Vacation Mode On
Research shows that it takes eight days of vacation to feel the benefits of a break after a stressful work period. To assure your holiday does not become an extension of your workweek, here are 7 tips to help you shift your mindset instantly.
Tip nº 1: Start planning your disconnection from work in advance. Prepare your “Out of Office” messages, arrange any final conversations, remind your colleagues and clients you are leaving and ensure all task handovers are completed. Creating a “how-to” list for your team could be useful – this way they won’t have to call you on your time off.
Tip nº 2: Return to an analogue lifestyle. Turn off notifications and put away your work devices. If also required, uninstall work-related apps from your personal phone. Reading a book or magazine and doing technology-free activities will help your brain understand that it’s not at work.
Time to Relax
Tip nº 3: Forget about work. David B. Posen, Medical Doctor and bestselling author of several stress management books, suggests that when you are deeply involved in what you are doing, you lose track of time. Getting physically active can be one of the best ways to clear your mind, but sometimes the opposite, stillness, can be the antidote to stress.
Tip nº 4: Get some sleep. When we slow down, we give our body, mind and emotions the chance to recover. This will help you see life in a more optimistic and positive way, making you feel happier and improving your quality of life.
Tip nº 5: Dedicate time to the things you enjoy. Pick up your hobbies again or take the chance to learn a new one.
Tip nº 6: Get creative. Activities such as art, crafting and writing can be useful to realise stress as well as meditation. Karma Lekshe, professor of Buddhism at University of San Diego, says that relaxation comes naturally when you reconnect with yourself.
Tip nº 7: Enjoy your social life to the fullest. Your personal relationships are the ones that suffer the most during work routine. Spending time with people who make you happy can be energizing and help you disconnect.
Having the right work-life balance can be challenging in a hyperconnected age, but it is important to remember that resting and taking time for yourself should never be optional.
To soften the blow of getting back to your routine, have a look at our 6 Tips for returning to work stress-free after a vacation.