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Tips to help you switch off this holiday season

22 Dec 2020

Wondering how you can successfully switch off from work during the Christmas break? HealthKick’s Erika Zauner shares her advice.

Forgetting about work and getting a proper rest during the holiday season can often be a challenge, but the events of 2020 have meant it will probably be harder than ever this year.

To help, Erika Zauner has given us some advice on how to switch off. Zauner is the founder and CEO of HealthKick, a corporate digital health platform specialising in fitness, wellbeing, mindfulness, personal care and more.

With the shift to working from home this year, she said that a lot people have had difficulty disconnecting from their work. “Many people are glued to their screens and are having trouble finding the time to take even mini breaks during the day and come up for air. Remote work is making people feel that they have to work all day, every day.

“The holidays only come once a year, so it is important for employees to prioritise themselves, take time for some self-care, disconnect and enjoy the time they have to spend with their friends and family.”

Set boundaries to help you switch off

Creating boundaries between your work and your personal life is crucial. If this is proving difficult, Zauner shared some tips to get you started. “When you take time off, disconnect yourself from your work as much as possible. Keep your laptop in a separate room so you don’t feel the urge to log on and answer emails.

“Having your work email synced up to your phone is very common for most employees; it’s probably instinct to click on your email icon and check your inbox every time you open your phone. Turn off all notifications so you aren’t being distracted and taken away from your ‘you time’.

“It may even be helpful to temporarily delete certain apps off your phone so even if your thumb goes to open them, you can remain disconnected and focus your energy on unwinding and recharging over the holiday break.”

And it isn’t just about ignoring work for a few days. Zauner also recommended taking some time for self-care or a few treats.

“From sleeping in, taking a bath or getting a massage to meditating, cooking a nice meal or pampering yourself with a pedicure or facial, it’s so important to reward yourself for all the hard work you have accomplished and any additional stressors this year, such as taking care of your kids with online learning while juggling multiple Zoom calls, or finding new ways to be socially connected.”

In Zauner’s own life, a simple step she takes each morning is focusing on four things she is grateful for before she gets out of bed.

“When you focus on what you’re grateful for, you can live in a more joyful state even during these stressful and uncertain times. This daily gratitude practice takes less than two minutes and helps shift my energy through the whole day.”

How your employer can help

Zauner believes that employers have a responsibility to help their staff switch off, too. They should check in regularly with employees, either through surveys or other “means for open communication”.

“Checking in and getting a sense of morale will help employers address what’s not working and learn what their team does find useful,” she said. “Not only will employees feel valued, but it will help employers understand and relate to how their workers are coping during this time.”

Adapting and unearthing alternative approaches to business continuity and social connection have been paramount for teams this year. According to Zauner, this needs to continue. “When asking staff for input, employers should also be looking for what resources would be most helpful to them.”

‘It’s so important to reward yourself for all the hard work you have accomplished and any additional stressors this year’

That can include finding a different way to celebrate the holidays, or organising mindfulness and stress relief sessions to help people unwind and switch off. Some of the other examples Zauner gave to bring teams together included cooking classes, yoga classes or dance classes.

“Overall, employee wellbeing has suffered immensely during the pandemic and it is important that employers reassure their staff to prioritise wellness and take care of themselves,” she added.

“Encourage your employees to take their vacation time if they have extra days left. People may have absolutely nowhere to go, but it gives them a mental break to decompress, avoid burnout and come back in the new year more refreshed, productive and ready to take on 2021.”

Lisa Ardill
By Lisa Ardill

Lisa Ardill joined Silicon Republic as senior careers reporter in July 2019. She has a BA in neuroscience and a master’s degree in science communication. She is also a semi-published poet and a big fan of doggos. Lisa briefly served as Careers Editor at Silicon Republic before leaving the company in June 2021.

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