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How to switch off from work and relax on your holiday

If you are having trouble switching from work mode to holiday mode – you are not alone.

playing guitar down by the beach

You often build up so much “momentum” rushing to get things done before your Christmas break (or other break!) – that it’s hard to suddenly slow down.

It’s like when you’ve been so busy studying for exams and your exams finish and you have some free time but you feel like you should be studying for something. You feel uneasy and even guilty.

A lawyer mate of mine was saying how he had trouble switching off and enjoying holidays. His mind was still spinning.

Another smart guy told me felt uneasy and had trouble relaxing and enjoying his family beach holiday. Even though he was at the beach – his mind was somewhere else.


So, if you feel this way too, what can you do?

Here’s a couple of simple tips I’ve learned over the years – when I need to switch off and enjoy holiday time with my family.

While it’s best to switch off completely – the reality is that it can be hard. So you can “transition” or, if you absolutely need to keep an eye on work things, you can limit your interaction.

Unless you learn how to transition or commit to relaxing and switching off, it can take 3-4 days to get into holiday mode. And that’s ‘wasting’ important holiday/family time! 🙂

1. If you do need to “work on things or keep an eye on things” – strictly have limited and specific times to check in. The rest of the day you commit to switching off. If I need to have some work thing going on – especially for future projects, I’ll do that first thing in the morning when the kids are still asleep. As soon as they are awake – it’s their time and their holiday and they get to enjoy it with “holiday dad” not “distracted worker dad”

2. Remind yourself you are on holidays. I know this sounds silly. You should be smart enough to know you are on holidays. But, I found little things work to help you change gears – and the key word here is CHANGE. I change the MUSIC I listen to. I change the aftershave I wear. I change from business suits to holiday surf shirts. I change my reading material from business type books to “holiday books”.

JB book T and C

3. Capture good ideas then relax. Holidays are often a time when good business ideas come into your head. I’ve learned to capture the ideas when the occur and then relax and “leave it”. When your mind is relaxed (in holiday mode) you’ll often get lots of good ideas – sometimes about those serious work projects you have been working on. You’ll be tempted to jump back into work mode.

I encourage you to capture the ideas – but stay in “holiday mode” – rather than wanting to get back into work mode.

Part of the solution is AWARENESS. Awareness that it can be hard to switch off from work mode. Awareness that you may get lots of good ideas when you are on holidays. AWARENESS that it’s natural to want to jump back into work mode.

TB working in cafe

I just got a stack of ideas for extra posts about relaxing and switching off on holidays.

But hey, my kids are stirring. I must keep my promise to myself and my family to switch to holiday dad.

I’ve captured the ideas – so I’ll come back to the ideas later – in the morning when the kids are still asleep.

For now – it’s holiday time!

So, signing off, switching off. Enjoy your break!



retro van

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These days, lots of people and organisations need help with how to COPE with too much work, too much information, too many meetings, delivering difficult news, business writing, effective e-mail, e-mail overload, cross-cultural communication, better social media engagement etc. I like to help people COPE.



One comment on “How to switch off from work and relax on your holiday

  1. efangelist
    December 22, 2014

    Reblogged this on busy dad to better dad.

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