Summer holiday / Unsplash

Imagine this: you finally arrive at your holiday destination, unpack your suitcase, and gave some time to kill before heading to lunch.

This may be a good time to review your holiday itinerary, check out the restaurant’s online menu or take a look at the weather forecast for the remainder of your stay. For many, however this is the start of a long internal battle to stop yourself from checking work emails.

Properly switching off from work and the hectic day-to-day lifestyle that is tied to it can be particularly difficult, especially given the accessibility presented through smartphones.

Worse still, after spending all that time researching and making holiday bookings, it’s a well-worn cliché to see business leaders waste precious holiday time reading work emails or taking business calls. And, there are of course occurrences where responding to a work development is not an option, but more often than not, poor self-restraint can be a big factor.

Indeed, research has shown that it takes the mind and body very little to get worked up and ready for ‘battle’, so to speak, but needs time to settle down into a more zen-like state.

For C-level executives, decision takers who are ultimately responsible for entire areas of a company, or the entire company itself, this can be particularly difficult. Being responsible means that one is always switched on, and it can be physically and mentally challenging to allow yourself to relax.

Therefore, here are some tips for business leaders seeking to switch off and disconnect from work to ensure that they get the full benefits of their well-earned holiday.

1) Change your mindset about taking some time off

If you are worried about having to take time off work, then it is important that you avoid perceiving it as a sign of laziness.

At the end of the day, everyone needs a break once in a while, and it is essential for your mental well-being.

When planning your trip, be sure to think about what truly makes you happy. Do you like the outdoors, or do you prefer a cultural trip in a bustling city?

Whatever your preference, make sure to include this in your holiday plans so that your experience is truly enjoyable, and you make the most of it.

2) Delegate and communicate

Letting go can be very difficult, but business leaders simply cannot feel that they need to do everything themselves.

Prior to leaving for your trip, it is vital to plan how the business will operate in your absence, with a number of key tasks being delegated to relevant team members.

To get the message across, business leaders need to have a handover sorted, informing their team or at the very least the manager of particular departments about their upcoming time off, with clear instructions for different tasks that must be tackled. These tasks have to be precise and practical, with deadlines scheduled for each.

Effective delegation and clear communication of responsibilities can help you feel less guilty during your trip, ensuring the business or department is able to function properly even when you are not present.

3) Avoid taking on extra work ahead of a holiday

In the final couple of days ahead of your holiday, it is important to learn that it is okay to say no to new tasks.

Business leaders cannot afford to take on extra work or responsibilities prior to their holiday, as this will only add to their stress once they are away, not letting them get the relaxation they need.

Make sure to focus on the important tasks you already have in hand, setting clear boundaries with colleagues and clients about what needs to be handled ahead of your time away.

4) Plan activities in advance

Planning different activities in advance ahead of your trip can be a gamechanger in terms of saving precious time and enjoying each moment to the fullest.

By planning ahead, business leaders can avoid having to look around for what to do and to also stick to a routine whilst on holiday.

A holiday routine that includes relaxation, fun activities, and sleep is essential to help keep work stress at bay.

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