How To Chill Out Over The Holidays

4 min read

Are you stressed to the eyeballs? Hanging out for your last day of work??? Me too. As soon as I close the laptop, I’m switching out of work-mode ASAP to relax & recharge so that I’m ready to take on 2018 like a boss. You can too. Here are some easy ways to de-stress, STAT. 

Last Christmas I had been clocking 100 hour weeks for at least six months. I wasn’t ever able to “switch off” and would wake up most mornings with emails part-drafted in my head – super efficient, yeah? The demands of my corporate job had forced me to cut off most communication with my family & friends during the year – I barely had time for the loo, so taking calls & replying to emails was out of the question.

On Christmas Eve, I worked until COB before crawling home to my festive family who had already made an impressive dent in the egg-nog. On Christmas Day, I fought the instinct to obsessively scroll through my work emails – sound familiar? And, there was that nagging voice in my head wondering if s*** had hit the fan in my absence. Then, a holiday disaster came in the form of a day at the cricket + a warm chicken burger. Hello salmonella! I was out for a week (but, hallelujah, I was off my phone and finally out of work-mode). Then, back to the office.

This year, I’m determined that things will be different. So, me and a few fellow workaholics have devised some cheeky, easy ways to ensure we make the most of our down time.

Want to expedite your transition from frazzled employee to ultra Zen human and be ready and roaring to take on 2017? ‘Course you do! *fist pump* Read awn…Stock you wardrobe with these luxe staples and feel gorgeous

iPhone, Laptop: Be Gone

You’ve earned your holiday damn it! Work is less important than your brain makes out – the office will survive without you (it will). There will ALWAYS be more work to do so don’t expect to have ticked every box and filed every email before you go on leave, you perfectionist, you.

News flash: while you’re away from the office it’s OK to be unreachable. Put your Out Of Office on and walk out without your laptop. Then, turn your phone off so you’re not tempted to check your Blackberry’s red flashing light, that infernal WhatsApp blue tick, or the heart-attack-inducing ‘ping’ of your iPhone. Hide your phone (all of them) in your undies drawer.

School’s out. Period.

Calm the Monkey Brain & Get Out of Work Mode

I’m the WORST at sitting still, relaxing and taking in the moment. My brain is always buzzing about landing the next task or  obliterating my ever expanding To Do list. So, my Grandad taught me this cool trick: lay flat and comfy on the floor, close your eyes, breath out for as long as you can until you completely empty your lungs. Do this 100 times. You’ll probably feel light headed – that’s a massive (free and totally legal) oxygen high – but you’ll also feel relaxed as hell and, if you’re lucky, you’ll fall asleep.

Instead of getting into a tiz if you get lumped with gift wrapping duties, use it as an opp. to flex your “mindfulness” muscles: wrap, tape, fold, wrap, tape, fold, re-wrap…and so on. Think only of the wrapping. Hello, Zennnnnn.

Treat Yourself – Reset, Recharge, Relax

Set aside an hour a day to do something just for you: jog around the park, take a power nap, get a massage, de-clutter your bedroom, meditate using the Headspace app, watch The Snowman, dust off an 80s aerobics vid, read a trashy mag or that novel perennially featuring on your must-read list.

Me, I’m going to try to finish a book, perhaps The Sellout.

Help Out

Helping others also makes you feel great too, right? Its about endorphins or something. So, be the designated driver; reach out to an old school friend you haven’t seen in a while or one who needs a shoulder to cry on; go shopping with your grandma; help your mum put up the Christmas tree; sit down for a nice cuppa /game of Scrabble with your dad; or make your sister giggle – this clip always has me and my Sister ROFLcopter-ing.

This year, I’m going to hit the beach with my Grandad.

Be Present

The holidays are a hectic time – there’s pressure to catch up with family & friends, concerns about buying the perfect gift, family politics, dashing countless times to the shops for the mint sauce you forgot or those gluten free biccies for your aunty. It’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind and forget why you’re there. So, when you’re chatting with your nan or sharing a beer with a mate, put everything else aside and focus your attention on the conversation: actively listen to what they are saying, notice their body language, empathise. You’ll be more likely to connect and have a meaningful catch up.

Take Stock

Reflect on 2017, grab a Crayola and draw up a giant list of everything you have achieved this year, celebrate these successes with a mince pie or two (because the egg-nog will be long gone). Hell, stick the list on the fridge and high five your Mum when she walks past.

Set six goals for 2018. You might want a pay rise (here are a few tips) and a promotion, or to improve your yoga practice, or plan an epic summer holiday (here’s a good start).

Avoid Chicken Burgers

I’m not sure about you, but I’m definitely going to steer clear of warm chicken burgers this year…cricket, on the other hand, I’ll put up with for Mr D’s sake.

This Christmas, I’ll be seeing my Dad, my Mum, my Brother and Sister, my Mama and my Pa, and we’ll be drinking White Wine In The Sun. And, I plan to take it all in.

Elissa x

Do you find in difficult to switch from work-mode to holiday-mode? What are you going to do this year to make the most of your break from the daily grind?

The best Christmas wish list of the year

Photo credit: Everlane

  1. rachel says

    Absolutely love it, timely reminder! I was planning to take my laptop back home for Xmas… but I think i might conveniently forget it? 🙂 xx

    1. Elissa says

      Yes, do it Rachel! Forget it along with your phone, access card and log-in code 😉 It will all be there when you return, refreshed, from you break. Have a great vacation! Where are you headed? xx

  2. AJ says

    My brain keeps cataloging my work to-do list for while I’m on leave – perhaps a change of tack is required!

    1. Elissa says

      While you’re on leave?! Are you paid to work while you’re on holiday?

  3. Maja O says

    Great reminder! Thanks Xx

    1. Elissa says

      Hey Maja, you’re welcome. What are you going to do to chill out during the holiday break?

  4. Agrippa says

    Even though I’m only part time this year, i’m still always checking emails on days off! Can’t wait for the Chrissy break – Great tips to relax, unwind – thanks 🙂

    1. Elissa says

      Hey Agrippa, It’s always good to take step back and ask yourself, do I really need to check my email or is it just a bad habit? I definitely suffer from this obsession with checking emails – it’s a tough habit to boot. I hope you’re able to switch off an unwind during the break. Happy holidays!

  5. lucy says

    Be present – great reminder 🙂

    1. Elissa says

      Hey Lucy, when your mind is used to wandering it’s SO hard to be present. I’ve heard it gets easier with practice. How are you at it?

  6. Annaler says

    I definitely need to unwind this Christmas. Work takes over every year! Thanks for the post 🙂

    1. Elissa says

      I hope you are able to wind down this year Annaler. Are you able to leave your work at work? i.e. laptop, notes, files and phone? xx

  7. Angelica says

    I definitely plan on completely unplugging for the holidays. Its hard but it will help re-charge for the next year!

    1. Elissa says

      It’s SOOO hard, I absolutely agree. I reckon it will take me at least 48 hours to stop eye-balling my phone and checking my email. But, it can be done! Good luck with the re-charging over the break and happy holidays, Angelica xx

  8. Niki says

    Nice one Liss- will definitely be taking this on board X

    1. Elissa says

      Great to hear Niki – happy holidays xx

  9. Vanessa says

    Great blog and great tips! It is difficult to go from work mode to Holiday mode!

    1. Elissa says

      It sure is! I hope these tips help you. Let me know how you get on and happy holidays xx

  10. PhiloCaro says

    Maybe I don’t go to work but I totally agree with you! Christmas it’s a time when we should spend time with others with no phones, no notifications.
    By the way I am completely in love with your blog!

    1. Elissa says

      I agree. It’s tough but totally worth the struggle if we get quality time with friends and family. Thank you so much! I’m so glad you like the blog. What’s your favourite article so far?

  11. Ashley says

    Hey if you don’t mind me asking what do you guys do??

    1. Elissa says

      Hi Ashley, I’m a writer and photographer. I travel the world interviewing female entrepreneurs and top businesswomen documenting their stories and style on I also share my travel tips and career experiences drawing from my background as a corporate lawyer. Feel free to sign up to the newsletter or email for further info. Have a great day!

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