By Laura Little, Learning and Development Manager at CABA, the charity supporting the wellbeing of chartered accountants and their families
For many of us, getting away is a chance to disconnect, mentally and physically, from our normal lives and refresh. However, with travel restrictions constantly changing holiday plans abroad and staycation costs skyrocketing (the average accommodation prices in Cornwall have increased by 30%), many of us aren’t planning to take that much-needed break and are instead running the risk of beginning to burn out. Yet, the benefits of switching off, even if you can’t get away, are essential.
With our tendency to view annual leave as being dependant on getting away, days off spent at home can feel like a waste or distraction from the job you ‘should’ be doing. The ever-present temptation to check our emails or do that job in the house on evenings and weekends means that truly disconnecting from work stress is hard to achieve when we are still at home.
So, how can we implement practices that help us achieve that state of holiday-relaxation when we take time off?
Changing your mindset
Now, we know what you’re thinking – easier said than done, right? But hold on, this is worth your time; it’s an incredibly powerful tool, that’s free and has been backed up by research. In a study published by Harvard Business Review, researchers found that half of a control group who were told to ‘treat their weekend like a vacation’ were significantly happier than those who had ‘treated it like a regular weekend.’
The holiday mindset can be broken down into three categories: being present, mindfulness and enjoyment. What can we do to adopt this mindset on our days off?
Begin time off with your own sanctuary
Start as you mean to go on. If you wake up on a Saturday, groggy and recovering from the work week, and jump straight into your life admin to-do list, the tone for the weekend is one of work. We all have tasks that need to be done; as much as we would like the pile of washing to be magically clean and folded, it just won’t. However, these tasks don’t have to consume your whole weekend and drastically change it from well-earned break.
Carve out an hour every Saturday morning and devote it to doing something in the present, not on a screen, that is physical and absorbs your concentration. This is personal to everyone; it could be yoga outside in the park or cooking a delicious fry up. Anything that is starkly different from your week spent looking at your laptop.
Going on holiday is the drop of escapism we all need. In fact, TravelSuperMarket found that nearly half (45%) of British workers viewed their holidays as vital for their health and motivation. So, let’s have our weekends as a source of motivation too.
Step out of the ordinary and plan something unique to do. Discovering what’s on your doorstep or treating yourself to that fancy restaurant you took your visiting friend to is a perfect way to trick your mind into thinking you are on holiday.
Make the mundane, luxury
Living life to its fullest shouldn’t be something just reserved for that one week abroad each year. And it doesn’t have to break the bank either. Think creatively about your everyday hobbies or plans to add something extra. It could be as simple as taking your breakfast outside on a sunny morning or, after swimming with your friends, going to the sauna for half an hour before trying a new brunch spot. Whatever you fancy, make it fancy.
Plan a Sunday night activity to bat away any Monday blues
We all know that feeling, it comes every Sunday night when the thought of tomorrow’s to-dos or the itch to get ahead and check your emails starts. But Sunday isn’t Monday.
Include a ritual into your routine that takes you to your hygge. This Danish tradition means to ‘create a warm atmosphere and enjoy the good things in life with good people’- essentially being present, mindfulness and enjoyment. Sounds familiar? It could be as simple as a bubble bath, herbal tea outside or watching an episode of your favourite TV show.
Days off are a necessary compliment to your working life and implementing practices that help relax and re-set your wellbeing are essential. When you can’t get away, this is even more important.
CABA is the charity that supports chartered accountants’ wellbeing. Explore the tools you need to successfully manage your time and the ways this can improve everyday life both at work and at home with CABA’s free online course, ‘Time management and personal planning.’
To find out more information and view the course visit caba.org.uk/online-courses/time-management-and-personal-planning