How To Switch Off and Love Your Holiday

How many of you struggle to relax when you take a holiday? 

The idea of taking a holiday can be a stressful one, if you are knee-deep in projects and upcoming deadlines.

It can take a while to unwind and the final days of the holiday see the return of work thoughts.

There is a different way. 

One which means you comeback refreshed and recharged.

Here are my top tips on how to switch off and love your holiday.

Two Days Before

Often the days leading up to the vacation is as important the vacation itself. You want to know that you have taken care of everything and there is little to hand over. 

If this is you then protect your calendar is key. We usually worry about the small stuff and grow it in our minds.  Make time to look at the details and ensure your handover is comprehensive.

Working late is OK, if you need to. Push yourself to wrapped up at 5pm, or whatever time you would normally leave. It’s holiday time!

Turn The Phone Off

We spend so much of our time connected to phone calls, messages and social media. Aim to keep your phone in the room or turn it off for large chunks of the day. This is even more important if your e-mails are work related. This gives you a great opportunity to clear your mind of work issues and immerse yourself into the vacation.

Out Of Office

Make sure your out of office and voicemail are clear.

This is not an opportunity to rub it in and announce your destination!
Keep the message simple. Confirm the dates you will be out of the office, who to contact in your absence and confirm your voicemail has been updated with the same info.

As soon as you have activated the e-mail out of office, update your voicemail with the same info.

The e-mails you come back to can be reviewed and then archived or deleted.

Build An Extra Day

Build a day into your schedule, when you return, to review your e-mails and craft a to do list. If you work from home a lot then tell the team you are back the day after, this will minimise interruptions.

This may not be possible so protect your calendar on your first day back. Refuse any meetings until the following day. If you can’t avoid the office use the time to review e-mails, walk the floor and catch up with people. Don’t forget to craft the to do list for the coming days.

Who You Leave Behind

It is likely you will leave someone in charge.  It is down to you how detailed you go but any handover plan should have the following. A clear outline of each persons responsibility, what deliverables they have and the relevant deadlines. This will make things a lot easier for you and the team. Make sure they know who to speak to, if they get stuck. It won’t be you.

Soak It Up

Sit for a moment and listen. Close your eyes if it helps.
As I sit here I can hear the water sloshing around the dishwasher. I can hear someone cutting grass. I can hear children screaming with delight as they run around the park. I can hear a plane overhead.

Noticing and appreciating everything around us is an effective way of relaxing. You can do the same exercise with what you see. Notice what is happening around you. It does not have to be a breathtaking vista to be grateful for what is in front of you.

Holiday With Friends Or Family

If you are away with a group of people for a couple of weeks it can get intense. Aim to schedule activity together and also schedule in free time for everyone. Doing so will reduce any friction and disappointment.

I recently took a trip to Las Vegas for a wedding. The Groom produced a schedule that mapped activity by the hour, including sleep! He wanted to go to 15 minute intervals but mutiny would have taken place.

Whilst hourly could be over the top it meant we could glance at each activity (different people were doing different things) and the free time available.

It was especially invaluable in knowing the locations for lunch/dinner.

Get Uncomfortable

Nothing beats a nap in the shade, if you choose a beach holiday. Waking up refreshed and relaxed is a great way to unwind. Doing this all vacation may not be the best thing for you though.

Many hotels will offer activities so get involved. Do something that may be out of your comfort zone. Learn basic phrases of the local language, scuba dive, hike into the countryside, learn archery. Whatever it is, get the brain firing a little differently and it will do wonders for your well-being.


We spend our lives jumping from one thing to the other. A vacation is an opportunity to reconnect. You can move away from the grunts on the sofa and talk to each other like you first met. Do you remember those times?

You can re-shape and re-phrase what the relationship(s) mean to you and how you choose to spend your time. Doing this will uncover new thoughts and feelings. Knowing you are enhancing these connections will make the vacation even more enjoyable.

Enjoy It And Have Fun!

Above all else enjoy the time away you have. Vacation time is precious.
Don’t return lamenting the end of your trip. Return with amazing memories, come back energised and be ready for the next challenge that awaits.

This is your life. Don’t miss it.

Believe and Take Action

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Ian Ruane

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