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Switching off this festive period

It can be difficult to truly switch off, especially if you’re having a week or two away from the office (whether that’s your van, your spare room or a desk a train ride away!) or if you’re in education, from your school, college or university.

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Emails are just a few clicks away on your phone, so it’s really hard to not get caught up with checking them even when you don’t have to be, but it’s important to take time to recharge.

There are a few things you can do to help make it easier to really embrace your time off and not give any work a second thought. It will help to organise everything before you finish for the year – start by making a to do list, if you begin compiling this a few weeks before you finish this will give you time to add when you think of something new that needs completing. This way you can ensure you get all of your outstanding academic or professional work done. 

Let others know if you won’t be able to finish all your work well before your break, or if you need an extension on any looming deadlines. 

This doesn’t apply to everyone, but in many organisations, clear communication around workloads can help and the constant feedback loop means everything is running efficiently. If you have more work in the pipeline than colleagues for example, or if you can’t quite meet that deadline for coursework, let someone know! You’ll ensure that everyone is aligned with what needs to be done and that you are able to make a bigger dent before you break up.  

Turn your out of office (OOO) on. Or simply don’t check your emails. 

It’s easy to get carried away checking your emails even on your days off so by putting your OOO on, you’ll be managing expectations and won’t feel the need to be available 24/7. If you respond to things straight away, that’ll be the expectation moving forward, which isn’t always feasible. If you’re in education and are waiting for results or feedback on a piece of work, don’t let that anxious waiting eat up the time you’re supposed to be spending recharging.

Try meditating. 

Meditating can help you to feel grounded and connected with the here and now. It takes a while to get into and isn’t for everyone, but meditating is a good way to really switch off and ultimately be present. Connecting with your mind; your body; your surroundings with every breath you draw. When you are in the moment instead of looking ahead, thoughts of any work or learning will soon be right at the back of your mind, meaning those precious moments with friends and family are all the more special.

And finally,

enjoy yourself! Time will fly and you’ll be back at work or learning before you know it, so make sure you don’t return wishing you’d spent more time relaxing.  

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