7 Self-care Steps To Take Before Going On Leave From Work

With the Hari Raya mood in the air and the long weekend fast approaching, it’s normal to not be in the mood to hustle.

If the holiday slump is getting to you, here’s your sign to unwind, relax and reset.

1. Re-prioritise your tasks

We’ll start with a realistic and practical self-care to-do first. When taking a long break from work, the best thing you can do for yourself and your team is set realistic goals for your workload.

Make Time authors suggest asking yourself these 3 questions when choosing the highlight (your main goal) of the day:

  • What’s the most pressing thing I have to do?
  • What will bring me the most satisfaction?
  • What will bring me the most joy?

Doing this ensures you’ll prioritise tasks that are personally important to you too. Then communicate your needs and plans with your team members so you can manage their expectations.

The exercise of prioritising and readjusting the workload shouldn’t rely on you alone. Get together with your team to work around the holiday schedule so that no one’s priorities get left behind.

2. Set boundaries and unplug

Avoid disrupting your holiday zen by setting some boundaries between your work and personal life.

After clearing your schedule and setting your work aside, establish healthy boundaries by setting some limits. You could set a specific time in which you allow yourself to respond to messages or emails. You could also practice saying a “no” to things that overstep your boundaries.

Whatever you do, communicating clearly and compassionately is crucial (so you don’t ruffle any feathers). Come to a compromise that works for you and your colleagues. Suggest others take time off this holiday as well!

Reminder: Taking the entire upcoming week off? Don’t forget to set your out-of-office autoresponder emails when you go on leave! Check out this article for some no-brainer samples to use.

3. Get moving

Okay, you hear this all the time. But there’s no denying that exercise does wonders for your mind and body!

If you catch yourself in a slump, take some time to go on a walk or do light stretches. Simple movements can bring some life back to your body and repeated movements can help clear your mind.

You might have heard about at-home yoga but have you tried one made for the desk? Yoga instructor and content creator Adriene Mishler has a yoga playlist on YouTube made exactly for Office Workers.

Is your job physically demanding? Check out this yoga routine for manual labour!

If yoga isn’t your cup of tea, take the upcoming break to get back into your favourite sport or activity.

4. KonMari (declutter) your desk

Marie Kondo may have trended 3 years ago but her take on decluttering will always be relevant.

In her book “Joy at Work” she cites a relationship between a tidy desk and the Pygmalion effect. The Pygmalion theory suggests that we perform at the level others expect of us. The higher the expectation, the better the performance.

On the other hand, several studies show that others perceive tidy people as ambitious, intelligent and trustworthy. For this very reason, Marie Kondo is sold on the importance of a clean desk at work.

The professional tidying expert says tidying your work desk does more than just improve your efficiency. The act of tidying up lets you rediscover yourself as you reflect on each item you own.

If that sounds too spiritual for your taste, decluttering your desk means you’ll return to the office to a clean and organised desk – and who doesn’t like that?

Tip: Decluttering should also extend into your digital space. Clear up your email inbox before you go on leave so you…

  • Don’t miss out on pressing matters before leaving
  • Know which messages to tend to when you return

5. Start reading a fictional book

High-level leaders swear by reading, but somehow fictional books have always taken a backseat. Even avid readers like Bill Gates suggested over 90 books in 2019 and only 9 of them were fiction.

So what are we missing out on besides an enjoyable read?

Neuroscience research suggests that reading fiction may have even more benefits than non-fiction. For one, fictional books challenge your imagination and foster creativity. While non-fiction books are great for knowledge, fictional books do a lot more for your EQ.

It’s why author Daniel Pink believes that right-brainers are set to rule the future. In a future where everything gets automated, you won’t be able to replace human empathy, critical thinking and creativity.

And if that doesn’t convince you, consider picking up fiction this weekend to just relax. Indulge in a fantasy or murder mystery for the very simple fact that you can.

Need the hottest 2022 book recommendations? Check out:

6. Show your co-workers some love

Happy colleagues with great work culture

Leave for your break on a good note by showing appreciation to your colleagues.

A simple way to do this is to send Kudos to your colleagues on LinkedIn (it only takes 2 minutes!). Your colleagues will appreciate the boost in their credibility and personal branding. If not for that, it’s always nice to know they’ve done a great job!

If LinkedIn isn’t your thing and you prefer something private, consider leaving them a written note. A simple thank you and an inside joke are enough to let your colleagues know they mean a lot to you.

Or skip the entire thing and thank them verbally. It gets your message across and makes them feel special, which is the entire point!

7. Rethink your “why” & stay present

Use this time away from work to reevaluate what it means to you. Why do you do the things you do?

Is it to provide for your family, fuel a passion or something else? Take this time to think about what drives you so you can return to work with a clearer goal in mind.

“He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how.” – Frederick Nietzsche

And this practice doesn’t have to apply to your job alone. Evaluating your purpose in other aspects of your life can help you be more aware of the actions you take.

For example, if relationships mean a lot to you, remember to stay present when you’re with your loved ones. Utilise this time of rest to reconnect with your family, friends, partner and pets.

Related: Unpopular Opinion: Your Career Isn’t Your Passion – And That’s OK

The takeaway

You don’t have to do everything on the list, but we hope this reminded you to use your much-deserved break to take care of yourself.

Rest, rejuvenate and come back even more energised. After all, you can’t pour from an empty cup.

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