Hooray, it’s holiday time! You’ve just about made it. Perhaps after a year of wins, skinned knees, or a likely mix of both.

You’ve toiled and sweated and had successes and blunders. Finally, you’ve sailed and slugged your way through to the end of 2018. So congratulations, well done!

Whether you spend your Christmas holidays in the Nippy North or the Sunny South, one thing’s for sure, your break should involve REST. Like high performance athletes, a smart leader knows the importance of a little R & R.

But rest gets a bad rap in our business culture. Technology hasn’t helped. Those smart phones that promised to make our work flexible? They’ve instead chained us to our work and have created an expectation we’ll always be available, even on our well-earned holidays. We even have a growing culture that sees stress and overwork as a badge of honour. It’s no wonder that rates of burnout are the highest they have been in so many countries.

You might think rest is overrated, or worse, be so used to the go, go, go that you don’t know how to stop. You even may get tempted to “get ahead” during the break or check your work inbox more often than you know you should. You might, like I did once, task yourself with a “Holiday Work Project”. Yes, I see the oxymoron in that.

But it’s time we reclaim the recline. It’s time we let rest take its rightful place.

Most of the world’s greatest artists, authors, explorers and scientists understood the wonders of rest. As Leonardo da Vinci said, “The greatest geniuses sometimes accomplish more when they work less.”

Therefore, now is the time to disconnect from the work grid. Type that ‘out of office’ reply, and then take a strict hiatus from the work inbox. This should now be YOUR time, without the stressful distraction of your work life.

If you want rest, you have to actively take it. Resist that lure of being busy and make time for rest. Especially this Christmas.

So here are 6 tips to help you unwind and embrace your rest factor during the holiday season:

  1. As much as possible, do what you want to do, not what you should do. Sure, there needs to be a bit of give and take, especially with family. But make time for those long walks on the beach alone as well as a great party. Read a good book, lay in the sun – leave the summer chores for a week and let yourself have some ‘me’ time.
  2. Consciously limit time on your phone. Disable all non-essential apps, dings, and notifications. Stop mindlessly browsing social media. Even turn the phone off completely for a day, if you dare.
  3. Be okay spending time doing nothing. Schedule far fewer activities and excursions than you initially consider. Create lots of space in that diary. Let yourself be bored. There is nothing worse than getting back from a holiday and feeling like you need to take another one because you were so busy!
  4. Reflect on the year. It’s often hard to gain perspective on how our lives are going when we’re stuck in the thick of it. Without falling back into a work mindset, downtime can be a helpful way to review how your year went,where you want to be in the future, and what you can do differently in the new year
  5. Pursue the activities that light you up and fill up your tank. Work-life balance can be a difficult thing to master throughout the year, and it’s easy to stop doing the things we love outside of work. Now is the time to remind yourself why you love these things. Maybe you’re an ‘active relaxer’ who loves moving and exercising and doing stuff. Maybe you like nothing more than to lie on a beach and read a book. Make the most of this time. You do you.
  6. Get out into nature every day. There’s a reason why the Japanese have coined the term Shinrin-yoku, forest bathing. Check this link out for what it is and why it will benefit both your mental and physical health.

So, take a chill pill and relax. And come back to your 2019 as bright eyed and bushy tailed as a reindeer who has just feasted on two billion carrots.