We all need to take time out to recharge our batteries and have a rest, and the week before last, I took a ten day holiday to do exactly that.
The type of holiday you take is of course a personal preference whether it’s lounging on a beach or by a pool; having a city break or an activity holiday or a mix of all of them. But the most important thing is to give yourself a break.
I decided to venture to Marrakech – my second time there, as I wanted a combination of lounging by a pool with a bit of sightseeing and fun thrown in. I don’t know about you but I’ve always found seven day holidays are not quite enough and two weeks too much, ten days is just right for a short-haul holiday.
It’s been a busy year to date, and physically and mentally I really needed to take the time to chill and have some rest and relaxation.
From my own personal experience, here are my recommendations to getting the best out of your time away so that you come back to work refreshed:
Keeping work at bay
The temptation to check email or take calls is always there, most of us don’t want to come back to an inbox that’s gone feral! However, you’re away for a rest so you need to create boundaries. Change the voicemail message on your phone and ask people to either contact you when you’re back, or contact a colleague in your absence or email you if it’s urgent, most people will wait until you’re back. Limit checking email to first thing in the morning, spend no more than 15 minutes on it, 30 minutes tops if you must, so as not to impact on your day, but still enabling you to keep on top of things.
Getting a good night’s sleep while you’re away
Sleeping in a different environment can be challenging in terms of a different bed, mattress, bedding, and temperature. See my blog on how to sleep in a hotel room HERE, but the basics are:
- Set the air con temperature to 16 – 18 degrees centigrade, the optimum temperature to sleep.
- Unplug the TV and anything with a stand-by light that might keep you awake.
- Pack ear plugs in case the room is noisy, and a sleep mask if the light comes in through the curtains or blinds early in the morning and wakes you up sooner than you should.
Keep a consistent wake up time
I know you may disagree with this, but keep a consistent wake up time while you’re away; wake up no later than an hour to your normal time at home. The brain loves routine, this will minimise the disruption to your wake up time when you return home.
Keeping active will minimise weight gain from the indulgent eating and drinking.
May be do a bit of exercise every morning before breakfast, even just ten minutes stretching or yoga does the trick. If you’re a sun worshipper, lying horizontal for most of your holiday can give you back problems, so get up, stretch and move around every now and again, or go for a swim to minimise this. Go and explore as much as you can by foot, I was clocking up between 12,000 to 17,000 steps a day, which meant I could eat what I wanted and not feel guilty or pile on the pounds.
Get a massage or have a spa treatment
This is one of my holiday must haves – I do like a bit of pampering! I always try and fit in at least two massages or treatments while I’m away to help with the relaxation process and knead out all the stress that has built up over the past few months. Remember to book your treatments either before you go or on the first day of your holiday to get the appointment times you want.
Holidays are for kicking back and relaxing, and may be having a little bit more to drink than normal. Too much alcohol can disrupt your REM sleep, if you want to get the best out of your relaxing holiday, then may be cut back or stop drinking around three hours before bedtime.
Much to everyone’s amusement, I’ve recently swapped from drinking wine to gin! I’m finding it a much more refreshing drink, I feel less dehydrated during the night and don’t have a hangover in the morning, as long they’re not doubles!