We feel like we’re in a rut during the year. Along with work and all the responsibilities, we lack enough free time.

Before a holiday, the thought often runs through our minds that when we return, we’ll have a kick-ass job and a full email inbox waiting for us. How do you enjoy your holiday and recharge your batteries?

If you want to avoid being left at the end of your holiday feeling like you need to go straight to the next one, you should completely put work out of your mind. To relax on holiday, it’s not enough to relax physically, but especially mentally. Read on to find out what steps can help you do just that.

Prepare enough for your holiday

Planning should put your mind at ease so that you don’t think about all the things that could go wrong while you’re away and what’s waiting for you when you return.

Our bodies can’t immediately switch off or switch from stress to holiday mode. Slow down a few days before your holiday gradually.

Set aside the last working week to take care of urgent errands. Remember to pass on all the necessary information to your colleagues so you don’t have to deal with phone calls or emails during your holiday.

Don’t feel remorse if you ask colleagues not to contact you in advance during your holiday unless it is necessary.

Make sure you have a substitution 

You don’t have to take your work and responsibilities with you. It’s best to deal with urgent matters immediately and delegate others to colleagues. I always recommend arranging for representation to ensure that things that need to be dealt with will be dealt with. Remember to inform your substitute so that they know what their role is. Also, let colleagues and clients know who they can contact in your absence.

Set up an automatic response

You can set up an auto-reply in your email in advance. This way, the recipient will be informed of your absence within seconds of emailing.  

Turn off notifications in Gmail

If you use Gmail and its mobile app, you get notifications instantly and automatically have the urge to reply to that email.

However, if you want to keep your mind on holiday, you shouldn’t return to your work duties. That’s why the best alternative is to turn off these notifications.

Plan ahead

To avoid stress, plan for as many things as possible that you don’t want to leave to chance. Tell yourself the latest time you need to leave the house, check your connections, arrange your tickets, and buy food for your trip even a day in advance. You’ll also want to make a list so you remember everything.

How to relax on holiday?

Take your time, and make a little plan to help you avoid stressful situations.

Avoid stimuli that might remind you of work

If you don’t have to, don’t take a laptop. Do you have a work chat with colleagues? Turn that off, too, at least for a few days. Avoid conversations about work topics, etc.

Set aside a specific time for work

If you already have to work, tell yourself which day and when you will set aside time for email or urgent work.

Keep your mind busy

This doesn’t mean you always have to be doing something. But if you have trouble stopping to think about work, errands, and problems, try different activities. Be it sports, board games, walking around town, visiting museums, reading a book, or watching the sunset.

If work still haunts you, plan a course of action to respond to the situation. Create a clue that you can immediately think of. It could be a place that charms you, a moment with loved ones, or anything strong enough to transport you to the moment.

Try mindfulness

Try also to use the mindfulness technique to perceive your surroundings without judging them and try to enjoy the present moment.

How many days off should a person take to be able to switch off?

To function correctly, we need to perceive ourselves. If you start to feel tired, you must stop and prioritize yourself over work. Everyone relaxes differently and requires a different amount of time to rest properly. You don’t have to wait for the summer to treat yourself to body and head regeneration. Relax, unwind, go to the spa, and take a few days off. In short, treat yourself to something nice and change your routine.

Remember to take care of yourself all year round and give yourself a break whenever needed. You will see that you will have more energy for work, for yourself and your loved ones.

Will a holiday help prevent burnout?

To give your brain a rest, you need to switch it off. The best prevention against burnout is work-life balance.

We are different, and the same method may not apply to everyone. Some may work for you, while others may not. The important thing is to keep trying until you find what works for you.

If you can’t find time for yourself during your standard days, one option is to take a vacation. You mustn’t take it to deal with work issues and things that stress you out. You need to get your increased production of cortisol, the stress hormone, back to normal. 

To learn more about burnout syndrome, read my article Burnout Syndrome: What are the symptoms and how to prevent it, which I put together with psychologist Katarina Hargašová. 

What is a sabbatical, and who is entitled to it?

I will probably write a separate article about the sabbatical. 😀 In short, some basic information.

Sabbatical is a long working break beyond the typical vacation. It is mainly considered as a prevention against burnout. It can last from a few months to a year, depending on the need and the agreement with your employer. It does not have to be directly offered as a company benefit, but your employer may still be open to your request.

This option is increasingly used by employees who enjoy their work but feel stuck in a routine or need more energy for their daily work. They need to replenish necessary mental and creative resources or inspiration for extended periods. Unlike a traditional holiday, a sabbatical gives them the space to regenerate their physical and psychological strength. It often has a specific purpose for which the time will be spent. The employee thus not only “switches off” from work and stereotypes but also devotes the time gained to self-development.

The company sets the entitlement to sabbaticals. It also forms its conditions for taking it. For example, how many years the employee must have worked, how long the sabbatical can last, how long the application must be processed, whether the employee pays his contributions or whether they are paid by the company, whether the sabbatical is paid or unpaid. The conditions can thus vary considerably.

You deserve a holiday, so go for it and slow down. You don’t have to feel guilty for enjoying your holiday or relaxing. On the contrary, you should make the most of the free time for yourself or your loved ones.