We live in a society that’s connected 24-hours a day, so flicking on the ‘out-of-office’ email alert and logging out of social media networks can feel overwhelming, but using your end of year break to completely switch off is extremely restorative.
Studies have shown that people who take holidays are happier and healthier and that the more relaxing a break you take, the longer you’ll feel happier afterwards.
Prioritise your wellbeing and follow my top five tips for switching off and relaxing during the summer holidays.
1. Tie up all loose ends first
Knowing that you’ve left things unfinished at work can prevent you from mentally switching off. If you prepare for your time off by completing all of the tasks on your to-do list and make colleagues and clients aware that you’re taking a break, you can begin to relax the moment you walk out the door instead of letting work calls and emails creep into your holiday time.
2. Enforce technology boundaries
Switch off your computer and disable emails on your mobile phone – you’re on holidays! It can be tempting to check in with the office, but your body will thank you if you take a proper break, spend time with friends and family and relax. Feeling revitalised will relight your career spark, and when it is time to head back you’ll feel enthusiastic and inspired.
3. Commit to wellbeing activities
Make sure you don’t schedule too many social engagements and be sure to leave enough time for rest. A great way to take time to slow you brain is to practice Mindfulness. Mindfulness involves paying attention to each moment. When we don’t practice mindfulness, we often switch into default mode – in this mode we risk letting mental chatter take over, worrying and allowing stress and anxiety to manifest. I recommend using Smiling Mind guided mediations – rated the top free health and wellbeing app in the iTunes. Simply download the Smiling Mind App and allow a soothing voice to provide you with short meditation activities anywhere – on the beach or in a quite place at home – even a few minutes each day can make a big difference to your wellbeing.
4. Exercise outdoors
Take advantage of the warm weather and go for a walk on the beach, swim laps, play tennis or do some yoga. Getting outdoors is also essential for Vitamin D exposure. A bit of Vitamin D absorbed through the skin helps to maintain bone and muscle strength. Try to catch a few rays at times of day when skin damage risk is lower – early in the morning and in the late afternoon. Ensure you enjoy the sun wisely by applying sunscreen, wearing a hat and drinking plenty of water.
5. Have fun
Don’t underestimate the power of good old-fashioned fun. Laughter can help decrease stress levels by increasing your intake of oxygen. It also stimulates activity in your heart, lungs and muscles. In addition, laughing increases endorphins, the feel-good chemicals that make you feel happy and relaxed.