How to switch off from work and rest this holiday season

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After a challenging two years filled with constant change, lockdowns, restrictions and office closures, for many there has been very little differentiation between work and home life, with the line between both worlds becoming blurred.

New research from Allianz Australia reveals 89 per cent of Aussies are ‘over this year’ and are ready for the summer break, yet 2 in 5 people (41 per cent) won't actually be able to switch off, as their home has turned into their office.

Shot of lovely little dog looking the laptop while her beautiful owner working with him in living room at home.
The line between work and home has become blurred due to the pandemic. Photo: Getty

Despite the desire to take a break over the summer holidays, many of us openly admit we are not making the conscious effort to pack down our desks (71 per cent) or turn off notifications (61 per cent) – making it near impossible to properly log off.

As a result, it is no surprise choosing to not mentally and physically switch off has left nearly three quarters (71 per cent) stressed out about the upcoming holidays.

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Clinical psychologist Jaimie Bloch knows 2021 (as an extension of 2020) has been another year of "curveballs" that have been taxing on the mental health of employees and employers.

"The end of the year marks a moment to reset, restore and recover some balance, and a great way of doing this is by turning your home office back into your home," Jaimie says.

"Working from the bedroom or dining room table can cause the lines between work and personal life to blur and it's important Aussies use the summer break as a time to recharge and create mentally healthy workspaces for the new year."

Rear View Of Woman Working From Home On Computer In Home Office Stretching At Desk
2 in 5 Aussies will actually struggle to properly switch off during holidays. Photo: Getty

Jaimie's tips on how to switch off and rest this holiday season:

  • Set expectations: Before heading off on break, chat with your team on expectations around work and communication during the holiday period. It’s important to understand what works for everyone and who may be available if and when required.

  • Turn off work notifications: After a year of constantly being alert and available, it can be difficult to break the habit. When you are on holidays/break from work it is important to switch off all work communication platforms, especially on your phone. This can help you focus on resetting and relaxing without the distractions or pressure of work.

  • Consider ways to consciously switch off: While it sounds simple, switching off and relaxing can be hard. Throughout the break, try to implement time throughout the day that is dedicated to switching off. This can look like technology free mornings or no phone zones when with the children, going on long walks or practicing meditation or yoga.

  • Plan your holidays: Try to make the most of your break and schedule activities that you love or have been meaning to do. For example, organising a catch up with an old friend or a day trip to the beach.

  • Reflect on the past year: The festive break is the perfect time to revaluate what was working and what didn’t work over the last year. Spending time looking back at the year that was and developing some flexible goals for the year to come around your health, mental well-being and values is a great way to set yourself up for success. Whether it’s dedicating more time to your emotional and mental well-being through morning walks or daily self-care during the work day or reevaluating your home office set up, creating a flexible plan that is adaptable will help you feel prepared and relaxed moving into the new year.

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