How to go on holiday stress-free?

Vacation isn’t just a luxury; it’s essential for restoring your energy, preventing burnout and maintaining your overall wellbeing. Getting away from your daily work environment and routine helps to stimulate creativity, and during your break you can discover new approaches that you can apply when you return to work. However, sometimes going on holiday can cause anxiety. We discussed rest and work-life balance in Smartful, and in this article, Smartful founder Helen Pärli, Career Coach Neidi Kompus and Recruitment Partners Kristi Suits and Ilja Džalilov share their insights.

No one is irreplaceable.

Before you go on holiday, delegate and set clear expectations for your team. Make a list of important tasks you need to do before you go on holiday. Set deadlines and tackle the most important or time-critical tasks first. Communicate with your team – let them know you’re leaving and delegate your tasks well in advance of the holiday. Make sure your expectations for the team are clear, and be systematic when planning activities – for example, prepare to-do lists for colleagues. That way, you can be sure that nothing gets overlooked, and you can go on holiday knowing that you’ve organised everything properly.

In addition, set boundaries for yourself, colleagues and clients. It’s important to have an open discussion with your colleagues and clients, and normalise rest to manage the expectations of others during your leave. While vacations will probably have a greater impact on others in a small team, having smart processes in place will help manage the workload. For example, in the role of CEO, there may certainly be a few urgent things (such as signing a contract with a client), but everything else can be delegated in a small team. Set boundaries for yourself – focus on the current moment and try to completely switch off from your job during the holidays. Set up an automatic reply for emails to alert people that you’re away, and turn off work-related notifications in your applications.

Maintaining a work-life balance is essential for your mental and physical health. 

Rest outside of holidays is also important. It’s easy to drown in work and burn out if you don’t consciously keep track on what you’re doing. Think about your work habits and workload and compare them with your motivation and enthusiasm. Do you have the drive to get started in the morning or the energy to deal with the sudden surprises at work? Work is important, but don’t forget yourself.

Make a list of activities that help you relax, and include at least one of them in your weekly schedule. That way you have an overview of your schedule and can book other activities into your time of well-being. If life interferes and messes up your original schedule, stick to it and instead of cancelling, schedule your wellbeing activity for another time. If you are going through a more stressful time in your life, you should also schedule more relaxing activities than usual to balance things out. 

Find a suitable morning routine. If you’re struggling to book your wellbeing activities into your calendar, you could try starting a morning routine and doing an activity that fills your cup first thing in the morning. All it takes is ten minutes to meditate, enjoy a morning coffee, read or do something else that makes you happy. Investing in your wellbeing first thing in the morning tells you that you are important and it’s okay to choose yourself. Try to include activities or events worth looking forward to in each week. Gather experiences, emotions and fun moments – work should inspire and excite you too! If you feel unhappy with your current working arrangements or there’s too much work on your plate at the moment, be open with your manager and ask to review your working arrangements. Asking for help is a sign of intelligence and responsibility, not weakness and inability.

Set your goals. From time to time (at the beginning of each year, for example), try to reflect on what goals you want to set for yourself. You can do this by using the “Wheel of Life” tool, which helps you to assess how satisfied you are with different aspects of your life. It will help you identify where you want to put more energy. Use this as an input for planning your calendar and setting priorities.

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