How to switch off and relax this Summer (even when you have to work)

How do you manage to switch off and relax this summer if you still have to work whilst you are on holiday? The summer can be worse than any other time of year as the pressure to work and make the most of the summer with our children and do something amazing every day is exaggerated by everyone else’s fun (namely their Instagram feed!)
It’s even harder to switch off if you still have to work whilst you are on holiday.

Why you need to switch off your brain

Failing to take time to relax and have some downtime to recover from the stress of everyday life can make us unwell and can result in burnout.  Burnout doesn’t happen suddenly it creeps up on you and making sure to switch off and relax can really help avoid it.  Burnout can be a serious mental health problem and is characterized by mental, physical and emotional exhaustion.

The creative part of your brain gets a reboot when it has a total switch off. So that feeling where you lose your mojo and enthusiasm and start procrastinating? That’s one of the warning symptoms of burnout. It isn’t just a thing to accept and struggle through it’s your brain giving you the warning sign. Telling you that you need some time out.

How do you switch off if you are still working?

So how do you enjoy some downtime and switch off on holiday for your own mental health?
Unless you are going to do a complete digital detox (read our article here) chances are you will have to be online at some point and connect or do some work to keep things ticking over, so managing expectations of everyone involved – including yourself is vital.
“As we are so connected it’s impossible not to be connected.” Living in an age where we are so super connected – we can make the mistake of letting the technology rule us – but try flipping that so that we rule the tech. Devices all have sleep and do not disturb functions – so use them to your advantage to switch off and say when you are unavailable.

A holiday is a great time to create a new habit or break one that’s bugging you. If it’s impossible for you to totally switch off from work then try managing your work differently.
Try getting up an hour or two earlier than normal and using that time while everyone else is asleep to do the work you need to do. This then frees up the rest of your day. Want to make this a new working pattern going forwards? Then you’ve had a great start to this on holiday.

Try our top twenty tips on how to switch off and relax while still working

1. Think about how you want to stay in touch if you have your work email inbox on your phone the take it off. Then you won’t feel you need to check your emails.
2. Same for your social media accounts avoid all unnecessary checks to your phone by removing any apps that you don’t want to be tempted by.
3. Check the weather and plan your days like you would at home. If it’s raining or weather that might mean you are stuck inside then plan these as your work times.
4. Let people you work with know you are on holiday and if you are going to be uncontactable then manage expectations and tell people in your out of office message.

5. Try putting your out of office on a few days ahead of time to stop the work building up before and give yourself a couple of days after too.
6. Choose when you work, if you know you need to do an hour or two every day then try and plan it into your day so it’s the least disturbing and gives you the rest of the day back. Change your working hours and let people know when you will be working.
7. Find it stressful to go back to a pile of unanswered emails then just allow yourself 30 minutes each day to check through and mark them where appropriate.
8. Don’t let people email you – if you know you will need to be contacted then tell people to text you or call you if it’s urgent. It’s so much harder for people to call you or send a text to someone on holiday than an email.
9. Let yourself have the time off and actually book in the time you are going to work. If you know you need to do 30 minutes work to keep in touch then schedule it and then say job done and don’t go back and check until your next allocated work slot.
10. Get it all out of your head – ever have a night when you wake up with thoughts racing round your mind? All those decisions, thoughts or ideas. Write them down in a list. Organise into to-do lists for different areas of your life.

11. Avoid the auto scroll. Be present and consciously think when you pick up your phone what are you are picking it up for? Is it to check in with work, take a photo or is it to check your Insta feed?
12. Use your phones different modes so you can switch it off and if you need to allow important calls through then use the do not disturb feature that makes people call twice before they can get through.
13. Switch off those notifications that draw you to your phone and try and create some new habits where you only check what you need to.
14. Try activities that switch off your brain – going for a bike ride, swimming, anything where you can’t check your phone or take it out for photos. Try paddle boarding – it’s pretty hard to take a phone with you!
15. Reading actual real books or on a specific kindle reader (not an app) allows your mind to focus on something completely different. Reading can properly distract your brain and help it switch off.
16. Tell your friends and social media followers for your business that you are going on holiday to reduce the pressure of having to post.
17. Try journaling it can have a very positive affect on your brain reducing stress and pent up emotions it can help clear thoughts and put you in a positive frame of mind.

18. Struggling to sleep and switch off before bed then have a read of our article on top tips for getting a great night sleep.
19. Meditation can help switch off the brain and refocus.  Try using some meditation apps headspace is a good one.
20. Look at your achievements and celebrate what YOU have achieved. Stop the comparison it is and feeling the pressure to be like others.
Finally, don’t be afraid to say job done and don’t feel you need to be going 24/7 365 days a year. Let yourself have some time out we promise you the world won’t end when you switch off.