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We are told that the festive season is the most magical time of the year. It’s about connecting with loved ones, good meals, gift-giving, and some time off for the holidays to relax. And yet, the holidays often don’t live up to our expectations of relaxation.

It goes without saying that this year’s holiday season will look all kind of different too. Some of us will be stuck at home, others will carry on as usual, all while still working from home and trying to take vacation.

It is always hard to find a balance between doing all-the-things and getting the rest we need. That said, there are thing you can do to get what you need from the holidays. It’s not too late.

Here are some strategies you can use to get the best out of your time off over the holidays, no matter what they look like.

1. Schedule a buffer day

Even if you will be returning to work immediately after the holidays, have your out-of-office notice say you will be back a day later. Give yourself the gift of a day to play catch up and start the new year the way you want to.

Ease back into it. Catch up on email. Get all your filing done finally. Talk to your co-workers about how their festivities were. Catch up on all those office tasks you’ve been putting off.

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2. Block off time in your calendar

Your calendar can quickly get filled up with all manner of meetings and calls, especially as new projects start to ramp up. Think ahead and purposely block off chunks of time in your calendar so people can’t book you in meetings. Give yourself plenty of space to get back into the flow of things.

3. Temporarily delete wok apps

It has become increasingly difficult to disconnect when we are not at the office. Give yourself a helping hand by temporarily deleting work apps like Slack, email, and LinkedIn.

Removing the temptation works wonders to help you relax and come back refreshed after the holidays. Lead by example and unplug.

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4. Trust your team

Organise in advance which of your co-workers will be covering different aspects of your role while you are on holidays.

Let them be your go-to contacts if anything comes up while your away. Then turn your out-of-office on and trust your team. This will provide you with some much-needed relaxation during your holidays and build a stronger team relationship based on trust.

If an emergency occurs, they can always reach you on your cellphone. But don’t worry, they’ve got this.

5. Take your vacation time

While worrying about missing out on promotions, falling behind at work, or simply saving them for another time are all valid excuses, they aren’t reason enough to avoid using your vacation days.

Instead of only taking public holidays off, take a couple of extra vacation days. Give yourself a real break, even if it’s just a small one.

Taking time off is good for your mental and physical health. It can even make you a better employee and help your career.

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6. Process your past year

Set time aside to be somewhere quiet and reflect on all that has happened work wise. The good, the bad, the ugly, and the amazingly unexpected.

Make sure to acknowledge all your wins big and small instead of just focusing on what went wrong – it will give you better perspective. Clear your mental inbox.

If you have the extra time, plan for the year ahead.

7. Get enough sleep

While this should be a given, most of you aren’t getting enough sleep. We have all heard this before, but modern science is backing up what your Gran always said about a good night’s rest.

Sleep is an essential element of relaxation and renewal. Schedule some alarm-less days over the holidays, treat yourself to a sneaky nap, or just lounge around with your eyes closed listening to life pass around you. Every little bit helps.

Has your job search been on holidays?

Sometimes, the best time to apply for a new job is after you return from holidays. But even if you’re perfectly content with your current job, it’s always a good idea to keep an ear open to new opportunities. Keep your job search going strong all year long and contact one of our recruiters today.

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