How to switch off work during the holiday season

The holidays are approaching – finally we can look forward to relaxing. We’re used to being super busy during our workday, so sometimes slowing down is a challenge. Maybe you feel nervous about leaving your computer off or your phone on silent – you couldn’t do these things at the office! Well at home you can and should. And yet, many of us find it hard to unwind again once work starts to slow down. So to help get you ready for the holidays, here are some tips on how to start disconnecting from the office, and reconnecting with yourself. 

Get the important stuff out of the way first

We know that you care about your work. If something is unfinished, you won’t be able to get your mind off it. Make sure that you don’t have anything big looming in your background by finishing your most important tasks a while before work actually stops. To do this you might need to delegate smaller tasks, or leave them for later, but once the big stuff is out of the way you can start to relax much easier. Maybe it helps to make a list of all your tasks, and label each task with the classic urgent vs. important system: tasks are either urgent or not urgent, and important or not important. Some tasks are urgent and important, and you should do those first. This will help you get an idea of what needs to be done when, and what you can leave for later. Hopefully your last few days at the office will be relaxed, which will let you start unwinding early. 

Disconnect your devices

Turn off auto-sync

It’s hard to ignore that little Gmail icon at the top of your phone screen. Even though you’re out of the office, you might still be getting emails from companies, clients, or coworkers. Once you’re out of the office, though, you do not have an obligation to reply. During working hours you need to see emails and messages as soon as they arrive – you probably have your phone’s email app set to auto sync. This means that email alerts will show up on your screen without you needing to open the app. It is very important during your holiday period that you turn this feature off. Even if you tell yourself ‘I just won’t open it now’, that email icon will be on your mind all day. You don’t want it to keep you from your rest time, alone time, or family time – so give the autosync the boot. Now you can only see your emails by opening the app. 

Different ringtones for different contacts

You don’t want to talk to your coworkers or boss, but maybe you do want to see when ouma sends you a photo of her festive house decorations. For this reason, you might not want to put your phone on silent. A lot of phones let you put a custom ringtone or text alert tone for different contacts. If you don’t want to put your phone on silent, try this instead. If possible, put certain contacts on silent so that they don’t take up your attention. The ‘Do Not Disturb’ function on your phone will also block all calls and messages except from people that you whitelist. It’s a great way to filter which messages you get to make sure you choose who can reach you.

 It is so important that you get a proper rest during the break. Working too hard without stopping has negative effects on your health, and can cause burnout in the long run. The holidays should be a time where work doesn’t exist – where it doesn’t occupy your thoughts, time or energy. Try your best to unwind in the coming holiday season, and spend time doing what you want to do.