How to Make the Most of Your Holidays

Today’s workplace can feel like a commitment that lasts more than forty hours a week. Emails, phone calls, social media, and 24/7 communication make it difficult to ever really be off the clock. With the holidays quickly approaching, professionals should use this opportunity to give themselves a much-deserved break. In fact, taking this opportunity to relax at the end of the year isn’t just for the sake of self-indulgence, it is good for your health.

An article from Harvard Medical School explained that the body releases cortisol and adrenaline in response to stress. These hormones cause reactions like anxiety, elevated heart rate, and muscle tension. This can also interfere with mood, sleep, and appetite. Another article from the University of Rochester Medical Center said that studies suggest higher levels of cortisol over a long period of time can increase cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure, all of which can lead to heart disease.

Now that we know why managing stress is so important, we can begin to develop strategies to create a healthy work-life balance during the holidays.

  • Maximize relaxation during the holidays is by preparing for the time off. In the days or weeks leading up to the end-of-year vacation, make sure to finish up any work that needs to be done and try not to leave too much for yourself when you return. This way, the dread of returning to the office with lots of unfinished business won’t be on your mind over the break.
  • Prepare for being out of the office by communicating with all the people you work with when you will be away. If team members and clients are aware of when you will be out, they can accommodate your absence and still work as efficiently as possible. This also decreases the chance of being contacted by coworkers and clients alike while on vacation.
  • Allow yourself time to be unreachable. Not everyone may have the luxury of being completely disconnected from the workplace while they are away. If you have commitments that extend into time off or have to stay in contact, set times for work when you can be contacted and times when your phone can be put on do not disturb. This way, time for relaxation is spent doing just that.

Finally, a great way to relax not only during the holidays but every day is to enjoy the little things. Whether you do yoga or buy a coffee in the morning, or enjoy taking baths at the end of the day with that fancy soap you really like, it is important to incorporate little acts of self-care wherever possible. These little moments can give you peace, even if for only a few minutes, during an otherwise stressful day.

Allowing time to unwind at the end of the year is an important way to not only make sure you are recharged when returning to the office in the new year but benefit long-term health as well. Make sure to prepare for the holiday season so you can get the most out of this well-deserved vacation.