One of my top tips is to plan your time off for the entire year, in advance. Do it whilst you’re having time off over Christmas because this is a key time for reflection. You’ll be reflecting about family and friends – how you want to see each other more. You’ll be thinking, how quickly the year has passed and how much you did or didn’t achieve. You’ll be considering your body, how well or how tired you are. You’ll be looking at your kids, so happy to see them happy – mostly because you’re spending time with them.
So instead of letting guilt set in, trying to manage all the passive aggressive comments (or even direct comments in some cases) by friends and family, make 2019 easier on you and plan time off well in advance.
This is a huge and important step in self-care because it not only ensures that you are taking care of yourself and putting yourself first, you’re also ensuring that those most important to you have some of your time too – planning ahead means you can ensure you don’t spread yourself thin and you actually enjoy spending time with everyone as well as taking rest for yourself in between work.
And because I’m so lovely to you, here’s a few ideas for planning the year’s time off that is easy to do on that first day back into work in 2019. Of course you can’t plan every single day necessarily but some of these key dates can be marked in advance and I urge you to give it a go.
- Birthdays – Yours and theirs. As we get older, we tend to not bother about our birthdays and instead go into work and just go out on the weekend. This year, take your birthday off. Use that day for you, reflect and plan what your next year will look like. It’s a wonderful bit of self-care that you can easily plan. Got family? Book their birthdays off too and make sure they’re off and spend time with them. You don’t get time back. Make memories.
- Holidays – In general we get about 20+ days off a year. Instead of packing all that holiday time into big two week chunks, give yourself a week off every 3 months – remember we tend to work 5 days a week, so you won’t need to use up all of your holiday for this planned time. Ensure some of this time is just for you – no kids or packed with seeing/doing – so you can actually rest.
- Travel – Jump on google flights and check out the best times to grab a cheap flight somewhere new and book a few days (coincide with your days off in the week) and you’ll be all set to have 4 days breaks. Hotels will also be cheap when the flights are cheap. Don’t miss out because the boiler breaks down (or other miserable out-goings) plan happy time for you – travel is the best therapy.
- Budget – Some of us do, some of us don’t. This budget is about spending money on things and people. Streamline this budget so that you spend more on yourself/your family rather than on countless nights out etc that are being used to de-stress. If you end up spending more money on other people, this will affect your stress levels unconsciously. Don’t put yourself in a begrudging position with social engagements – plan them.
- Say “No” – Plan to say “no” to a few engagements throughout the year. Give yourself an invitation ‘budget’ like only 2 or 3 per month especially if they fall on weekends when you are usually not working. Packing every weekend with social engagements is not a competition between you and your people to show who’s the busiest. Time should be seen as a commodity. We create unnecessary stress when we don’t consider this.
Planning to take breaks throughout your year, creating a ‘budget’ for time (and monetary) are excellent ways to manage stress easily which will hep prevent burnout and exhaustion throughout the year.
Now go get that holiday form!