As we prepare for yet another festive period affected by Covid-19 restrictions, it’s time to think about the importance of taking some time away from work to switch off. Self-care and relaxation are not luxuries. They are essential for our wellbeing and make us happier and more productive workers as a result.
Switching off was made easier when more of us were ensconced in the traditional office environment as the annual Christmas shutdown allowed for some much-needed family time. However, in 2020 and 2021, the lines between home and work have been blurred for many. Homeworking and hybrid offices have become commonplace, making us more accessible to our workplace. Likewise, checking in with work from home is far easier and now more routine than ever before.
Getting time away this festive season is more challenging than usual, but it’s still essential for you and your team’s happiness both professionally and personally. If you need some inspiration for ways to switch off, we’ve put together this list to help get you started:
1. Plan before the holidays
If you plan on taking a well-earned break over the festive season, make a list of tasks that must be completed, prioritise the important ones and leave the rest for when you return. Of course, you might have to say no or push back on deadlines, but having a priority list can help you focus and give clear, concise reasons why you cannot meet someone else’s demands.
2. Don’t forget the Christmas wind down.
When we work in an office, the signs that Christmas is nearly upon us are clear. There’s more relaxed work wear, chocolates, long festive lunches and the annual staff party. It’s very easy to forget this when you are working at home. It’s impossible to recreate this environment fully, but you could carry out actions that mark the end of each workday to prevent yourself from working longer hours. For example, pack away your laptop and any other equipment until the next working day or take a festive lunch or small celebration with your household instead.
3. Schedule time to relax
If you struggle to pull yourself away from work, put it in the diary, set alarms and take that time out Take a break, go for a walk, catch up with a friend. Don’t ignore or feel guilty about the time that you have set aside for yourself.
4. Use your out of office
One thing that sends a strong message that you are not reachable during the holidays is a clear-out of office automatic email reply. Let people know you are taking a well-earned break. If necessary, leave contact details where someone can be reached in an emergency. Do not reply to emails over the holidays, as once you open your inbox, it’s hard to go back and relax. If you absolutely must check in, schedule some time and stick to it before going back and relaxing. Before you email others also consider the potential effect and pressure it puts on them. While it may seem harmless to forward an email with the best of intentions during this period, it may put unintended and unnecessary pressure on that colleague to respond or work during their holiday.
Whatever you do this festive season, take some time to recuperate and relax and spend time with family and friends. By taking care of your own well being, you will be able to return to work refreshed and be more productive and efficient as a result.