22 Dec 2020

  • Leadership

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How to De-stress This Holiday Season for a Better 2021

The global workforce is tired. For many, the 2020 festive and calendar New Year break feels like the finishing line at the end of a marathon we never signed up for. It’s a brief respite from a year of tumultuous change and uncertainty, but when we fast forward to the start of 2021, will things be any different? Are we heading into another marathon year?

While I can’t deny I feel a burst of adrenaline when I think about the positive changes ahead next year, there is still a lot of terrain to cover before we get there. As a multi-stage ultra-marathon racer, I often marvel at the body’s ability to run back-to-back marathons. The first day is often the hardest, yet somehow, on that second day, the body adjusts. The greatest contributor to this endurance is not solely a fortified body (i.e. no injuries, coping with blisters), equally important is the ability to keep a calm mind.

As we head to 2020’s imaginary finishing line, it’s worth remembering the importance of mental wellbeing, because how we rise out of the starting blocks of 2021 will largely be determined by how we control our thoughts and how we take advantage of this necessary and well-deserved time away.

Five (5) tips to de-stress and maximise this holiday period:

  1. Finish strong.
    When you switch off this holiday season, you don’t want any lingering thoughts about projects you could’ve finished, but didn’t. So, it might be worth pulling a few late-nights to ensure you clear out all essential work so you can properly step away to recharge.
  2. Switch off.
    Turn on your “out of office” reply. Rely on your organisation’s skeleton team or the staff in locations with different holiday schedules. Set the expectation within your team that everyone (who is able to) will be unavailable. Emergencies only. Know your tech triggers and mitigate them before they set you off. If your work phone and personal phone are the same, then move the apps around so it’s just that little bit harder to access those for work.
  3. Plan and communicate.
    Let your team know your holiday schedule, and then make sure you read theirs in return. Organise all communication to employees into two buckets: what they need to know before they go on leave and what can wait until after. Execute accordingly. Inevitably, there are some of us who will not be able to fully switch off this holiday season, but there are things you can do to help maximise your time-out.
  4. Timebox it.
    Allocate a fixed time period to complete planned tasks and responsibilities, whether that’s emails or being available for calls.
  5. Start or end your day as you prefer.
    The stress of having to get up and go to bed by a certain time is something many of us do not miss during our holidays. If you don’t like waking up to an alarm clock, then wake up naturally. This will help you maintain some of the “time-off/good vibrations” feeling even if you have to log on during the day.

If staying up later is a treat for you when you’re on holiday, then enjoy a bit of late-night entertainment so you don’t feel like it’s just another workday.

Let’s set ourselves up for a successful 2021 by ensuring we get the downtime and restoration we need. The challenges of 2020 have strengthened our fortitude, and taking this holiday to unwind will mentally prepare us for the distance ahead.

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CATEGORY Leadership

TYPE Article