[BRW] Staying in the Holiday Zone

Staying in the Holiday Zone

 

Remaining in a relaxed state of mind after a break from the office can prove challenging when you return to find your email box is full and deadlines looming. On the last night of their holiday, people can find themselves filled with a sense of dread at giving up the holiday feeling and settling back into the 9 to 5.

Mind coach Jacob Galea from business and motivational coaching group GCorp says the reason people find it hard to come back to the office after a holiday is because of a clash of cultures.

“One day you’re relaxed on some beach and then the next day you’re thrown back into a stressful work environment,” he says.

“It’s like going from winter to summer in a day, it’s a shock to the body and system.”

Galea recommends a few simple techniques to help. He suggests going through the work diary the night before heading back to the office to start mentally preparing for work.

“Prepare yourself the night before so you know what you’re in for and get your work clothes out, too,” he says. “If you’re prepared, the shock of going back to office the next day won’t be as tough.

“Even if you’re the type who likes to hit the ground running, or [the type to] ease into the work – it’s a personal preference.

“Just like when you’re at the beach, some like to ease themselves into the water, others just dive in. Just do what feels right for you.”

In the office, visualisation is a great tool to keep you relaxed as the mind does not know the difference between what is real and what is imagined, Galea says. Spend 10 minutes visualising yourself lying by the pool in that relaxed state when you get to work. This simple technique can be used through the year.

“You can keep this up as long as you like because your mind doesn’t know the difference, although you don’t want to stay completely relaxed because you might be left behind the game,” he says. “You still need to get your work done.”

He also recommends bringing a few mementoes from trips to the office such as postcards, coffee mugs or photos as a reminder of the break.

Other 10 minute “exit strategies” such as tai chi or meditation are beneficial if you start to feel overwhelmed. Booking short trips throughout the year may help you cope as well.

“Don’t wait till the end of the year to take a big holiday, take a week off every quarter, because every 12 weeks or so, you know you’re going to get a break again,” Galea says.

“Think about it now, if you know you’ve got a holiday coming up, instantly you’ll feel relief is on the way.”

Barbara Pocock, director of Centre for Work and Life at the University of South Australia, says that more than one in two Australians did not take all of their leave last year.

People who take regular leave should be congratulating themselves because they are the ones who feel better about their jobs and have much better work-life outcomes than those who don’t take leave.

“The best intentions about hanging on to that holiday feeling are not worth much if your boss asks too much of you and does not consider a life beyond the workplace,” she says.

“Our research shows that finding a decent supervisor who genuinely gets that, one who is flexible with employees’ working time and job conditions, is vital to hanging on to the holiday effects.

“Getting a good fit between the hours you want to work and those you have to work are also factors that are important to feeling good about work and home.”

Pocock agrees with Galea and says plan the next holiday soon and make sure you take it.

“Remember that no one will remember those extra work hours you put in when you are dead; however, your friends and kids will remember the times when you were hysterically funny and great to be with on that 2011 holiday,” she says.

joseph ferrone