Our lives are so hectic. Relaxing is hard, but it is also important.

Common sense tells us that there is nothing easier than just switching off the phone and lying on the beach.

Wrong.

When we are talking about feeling stressed in our daily lives, planning holidays is one of the most stressful things in our yearly routine, right after spending Christmas with family.

It is not easy to switch from our everyday business mode to holiday mode in 15 minutes or during an hour-long flight. That is why psychologists suggest that our mind and body need 14 days off in a row to fully recover and recharge. This time is required to slow down and to be able to move on from our daily tasks. People get used to very demanding work schedules – in only 24 hours we must fit in work, time for family, household chores, and many other activities.

To start annual leave in a good way, first you must close everything you can during your last days at work. Remember, that it sometimes requires more time than just one last day. Handovers take time and must be well planned.

Relaxation is not only lying on a hot beach or playing sports like crazy – after all, active holidays are popular. Each one of us has different needs and we must listen to our bodies. Eat, sleep and do everything that makes you feel relaxed. However, don’t treat a holiday like a competition. If your neighbour Bob is bragging about a luxury holiday in Bora-Bora, or neighbour Jim is packing to climb Mount Everest, don’t try to do the same or upstage them. Just do what feels right for you.

If you believe 3 days is enough to be fully relaxed, you still might have a feeling of energy burnout, but this effect will last significantly shorter than after long holidays. Studies shows that employees who take annual leave during summertime are less stressed and feel less symptoms of burnout than workers who do not take two weeks off.

Lowering the symptoms of stress is important as much for the employer as for the employee. Research proves that employees who use their annual leave are less prone to diseases, rarely take sick leave, and are protected from burnout symptoms. Of course, annual leave will not repair all the damages done by hectic and stressful lifestyles, but it can lower the cost from paid sick leave and keep the employee with the company longer.

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