The past few days reached a scorching 30 degrees Celsius in the good ol’ England — as an Italian, I am used to worse, yet the only tiny fan we have in the house did not withstand the heat.

I was looking at our plants, desperately requiring water daily.

It reminded me that, just like flowers and plants, we need to make a conscious effort to nourish ourselves and recharge.

We are in a very peculiar situation where we spent 12 weeks working non-stop to pivot, adapt, and thrive, yet Summer has landed officially and almost everyone — clients and Creative Impact collective members alike — are unsure whether to take the time off and “indulge” in some holiday time.

As the latest issue of the magazine drops in a few days— I am already looking at what July and August may look like.

After long discussion, I am consciously planning a vacation of sorts — away from the laptop, away from a routine that has become an endless cycle ‘when to stop’.

Is it only me craving some time to decompress and step back, yet finding it hard to actually plan it?

Celebrate the small wins

I truly feel like the past 10 weeks have been more like an interval fartlek run than a marathon.

We were asked to pivot — I mean, I certainly suggested you did. Most smaller and bigger businesses alike have been constantly evolving and changing the goalpost in order to, very bluntly, survive.

Some people needed to pause their businesses, do cuts and streamline, and that is okay. However, I have witnessed some incredible adaptation from some amazing businesses (and we have done the same).

As I ask myself what a “break” may look like this year, I am looking forward to taking some conscious time to celebrate what I have achieved in the past 10 weeks.

Before even starting a staycation, I encourage you to look back at the past 8 weeks and ask yourself what you have been achieving.

Action step: spend some time outlining all the wins, big or small, worth celebrating from the past 10 weeks. Use micro goals to help you.

Set the right expectations

Here’s where a to-do list comes handy.

First, you need to make sure you set some boundaries in place with your clients, co-workers or managers. I personally like to let my clients know about any potential change or adaptation in my schedule.

Let people know how or if they should contact you, who’s the best point of contact during your time away and anything they may need to know during your absence.

Yet, our worst enemy is our email inbox.

Ask yourself what boundaries have you set in place and which boundaries you wish to create when it comes to your inbox and dealing with whatever comes your way. Can you do better ahead of your time away?

Recruitment firm Glassdoor shared that 23% of employees who took annual leave in 2018 regularly checked their emails, while 15% continued working throughout their holiday because of fear of falling behind and the consequences of not hitting their targets.

Action step: set up a clear autoresponder, including anything that can help people who interact with you to find the answers they need without your help.

Take a tech break

One of my favourite things about holidays is the fact that I am forced not to look at my phone or laptop — something remarkably hard for a business owner.

According to the UK’s communications regulator Ofcom, 15m UK internet users (around 34% of all internet users) have tried a “digital detox”.

After being offline, 33% of participants reported feeling an increase in productivity, 27% felt a sense of liberation, and 25% enjoyed life more.

But the report also highlighted that 16% of participants experienced the fear of missing out, 15% felt lost and 14% “cut-off”.

These figures suggest that people want to spend less time online, but they may need help to do so. Learn to devote time to yourself, get to know you, your emotions and thoughts without the assistance and cue of your phone waiting for its appearance.

Why do you need to use it? Is it just to fill spare time, or does it heal a void caused by unpleasant emotions?

What can you do to encourage a better relationship with technology during this time off?

Action step: write down three things you can do to encourage you to step away from emails, laptop and phone during your time off. You may find yourself needing to go on a tech Spring clean.

What happens next?

“I’m a massive believer that we need to take the reigns for shaping a life that we love living and that is what I work with my clients to do. Life is too short only to be happy when you’re on holiday.” — Deeba Anandan

Whatever your time off will look like for you, you still may experience some sort of holiday blues.

On holiday you may put into the day many fun activities than you would in ‘normal’ routine days, so when you stop doing these things, you start noticing the difference.

Holiday blues may say a lot about you, your lifestyle, and priorities. Instead of feeling stressed and demoralised, find ways to make your first day back one full of motivation and excitement.

Action step: how can you ease yourself into work from your time off?

All in all, celebrating and cherishing the time off will benefit you in the long run.

Work and being of service are high on my scale of priorities, YET, another value that is key for me is freedom.

In order to prioritise joy I realised I had consciously work to let go of my need to always DO more in order to feel like I was giving myself the freedom I needed to be fully fulfilled.