On holidays in a good mental state

Postdate: 31 January 2018

Getting a holiday feeling just when your holiday is almost over: maybe you have been confronted by this before. The first few days, you suffer from headaches, nausea and feel tense. Then you become tired, and want to do as little as possible. Only when you are almost heading home, does the light begin to dawn. These are symptoms of a too high a stress level.

Holidays as a deadline
A chronically elevated stress level may develop over several weeks to months before the holidays. It does not only develop from work pressure being imposed from the outside, but also by internally imposed pressure. You want to get something completed before the holidays, so you can go on leave with peace of mind. Holidays are therefore often used as deadline. This deadline is not always realistic. Check to see if your tasks and pace actually match reality. You do this by distinguishing between what should really be completed and what will just continue on after your time off.

‘Healthy’ holiday stress
Although it sounds logical to set deadlines, the start of your holidays does not mean the end of your working life. A holiday is not necessarily relaxation if your mental state is bad, because it demands something from your flexibility, adaptability and resistance. Are you sure you haven’t forgotten anything? Has your car been checked? Are the children relaxed? Maybe you are catching a flight or using public transport in a foreign country for the first time. This is quite apart from the fact that you find yourself in a new environment that looks different from the pictures or from your own expectations. You sleep in a different bed, and eat at other times. Thus, it is logical that a holiday always causes some 'stress' as well. Your brain is working overtime to process all of these impressions.

Efficient planning
If you want to diminish stress before your holiday as much as possible, it is important to establish priorities several weeks in advance. It's not about working less, but about planning properly. Check out especially what tasks can be picked up again after your holiday. Include the help of a colleague who is your back-up while you are away, in plenty of time. You can return this favour for your colleague later. This will allow you to go on holidays in a relaxed state.

The message is to 'kick off' from work stress before you leave, instead of seeing your holiday as a rescue process. If you take the car, it is a good idea to avoid too much driving on the first day. For the first few days, try to stay in your normal eating and sleeping rhythms so that your body can adjust gradually.

‘The secret of success is making your vocation your vacation’

holiday     mental condition     planning     stress level     work stress    

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