Millions of Canadians are currently sitting at their desks counting the hours to their holiday break. Whether it’s a few days or a few weeks, there are a few things you can do to make the most of your time off.
- Allow yourself to disengage.
Doing job-related work while on vacation can undermine the benefits of vacation. So, do yourself and your family a favour by truly disconnecting from your work. And that includes avoiding accessing work via portable electronics. If you must check work-related texts, email or voice mail, commit to doing it during a narrow window of time during the day.
- Prepare for your time away.
The healthy disengagement I referred to earlier is most likely to occur if you finish the work you need to do before starting your holiday. So, in the time that remains before your vacation begins, set clear goals for what you plan to accomplish and then work toward achieving those goals during that time. This will give you a sense of accomplishment and smooth your transition into your time off.
- Prepare your transition back to work.
For many, taking time off usually involves a mad scramble to get a high volume of work done before the vacation and returning to a high volume of work after the vacation. Unfortunately, research shows that these two things can undermine and undo any potential benefits of vacation. There is, of course, nothing wrong with working hard before and after a vacation. But, if, after a vacation, you are going to try to reclaim every hour of work you “lost” while on vacation, you will probably feel more depleted than you would have had you not taken the vacation in the first place.
If you are among those who are able to take a break from your daily work at this time of year, then give these strategies a try. Here’s hoping that they will help you to master the art, and science, of vacationing well.
Aaron Schat is an associate professor and the area Chair, Human Resources and Management at DeGroote. Professor Schat’s research interests are in the areas of work-related stress, health, and safety.