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Seriously, am I the only person who feels bad when it is time to take leave to go on holiday or to take time for myself? I recently chatted to someone about how my fiancé had factored in two extra days post our vacation to recuperate before returning to work. While we had both decided to take the same number of leave days, and I qualified for that amount, I opted not to take those extra days. She mentioned that guilt was the reason for my actions, and it is something that many people battle with.

Time-off guilt is real and can be both stressful and crippling. Whether it’s the fear of falling behind on work or being viewed as less committed, it’s easy to find yourself shying away from taking those much-deserved breaks. In my case, I suspect it is more the latter.

Below we share a GUIDE to feeling better about taking a break from work:

  • Do a thorough handover: Before you go, make sure to jot down an email informing all your colleagues covering your work on the latest status of projects and all the tasks they will need to do in your absence. Also, ensure that you tie up as many loose ends as possible before you jet off.
  • Notify your clients: Ensure you communicate well in advance about your plans to take your break. This way, you limit the chances of your clients contacting you during your time off. 
  • Remind yourself that you deserve a break: Taking leave is part of one’s compensation package. You’ve earned it, and there is no reason to feel guilty. Subsequently, going nonstop is somewhat addictive and can result in burnout which most of us have been feeling lately. Those much-needed breaks should be a no-brainer because our companies need us healthy and rejuvenated. 
  • Switch off, put your feet up and enjoy your break: According to a Huffington article, most of us are living fast-paced lives, such that when we go on a holiday, it can take a few days for our brains to catch up with with the slow pace and completely switch off work. With my recent holiday, I had to be intentional in slowing down, relaxing, partaking in fewer activities, and unwinding. Taking afternoon naps, going to bed early, limiting social media interactions, and drinking more water (I know it looked like all I did was sip on Cosmopolitans all day) also helped. 

By simply following the above GUIDE, you are a step closer to having an anxiety-free and relaxing holiday the next time you take that well-deserved break from your work.

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