While we can’t go on a holiday to a sunny beach or get lost in European cities, taking a couple of days off during lockdown can still leave us with that post-holiday feeling.
Lockdowns often come with heightened stress and worry and taking some time off work can give the break we need from stress and do us a world of good. It might make you more productive once you’re back at work and help you feel refreshed and rejuvenated.
Taking time off during lockdown may seem like a waste of your accrued leave, but it can help improve your health and give your brain a holiday from always having to be switched on.
Here are some tips to ensure you get the most out of it:
Plan Your Return
Spending your break thinking about all the things you need to do at work won’t actually give you a break. Before you log off, write a list of everything you need to do and make yourself a plan for your return. That way you won’t be worrying because everything will be set up and ready for you to go once you’re back at work.
Let Your Colleagues Know
Giving your colleagues a heads-up that you’ll be offline for a few days will help create boundaries and make it feel more like a holiday. While you may not be able to disconnect completely from your job, letting people know when they can contact you, e.g., in an emergency, should mean that less people contact you not knowing that you’ve taken some time off.
Setup an Out-of-Office
In case someone didn’t know that you were having a break, a friendly and informative out-of-office response to any email will let them know not to expect an instant response. It’s always a good idea to include a manager’s or colleagues details they can contact if the matter is urgent.
Disconnect Your Mind
There’s some truth to the saying ‘out of sight, out of mind,’ so don’t just close your laptop lid, instead turn it off and put it away. You’ll be reminded of work less, and you may not be as tempted to check your emails if there’s more steps involved. This is especially important to do when your workspace is also your living space.
Designate Work Time
If you do need to check your phone and emails, then set designated time. This might be once or twice a day where you can make sure there haven’t been any disasters at work, and it might also keep your mind at ease. Set an alarm for this time, and stick to a time limit, it might be a maximum of one hour—you don’t want to accidentally work for a few hours.
Enjoy Your Break
To really benefit from taking time off work, you may also like to take a break from the news. Perhaps set yourself some rules, such as you can only check the news once a day. Being bombarded with news about Covid-19 probably won’t help you to relax. Try taking some time away from social media, and getting stuck into a great show, book or game. Anything that will make you happy and help you feel revitalised.
Lockdown takes a toll on everyone, and you want to ensure that when your break is over, you actually feel like you had a break. You may not have lazed around on a beach all day, but you have the chance to laze around on the couch all day with a good book, and that’s still pretty good. With these tips in mind, hopefully you can create a break that leaves you feeling refreshed, revitalised and excited to get back into work.