I have just returned from holiday and I feel well rested and rejuvenated. But prior to going away it was a completely different story. As someone who works with clients to move from burnout to balance, I realised that I had only taken 4 days off throughout the whole year so far. I was exhausted, my energy levels were depleted and I was struggling to concentrate.

I know that so many of you can relate. We have been saving our days off for when the airways open or for when we have a greater sense of freedom post lockdown. But I am here to tell you that this approach is counterintuitive. And if you aren’t careful you could be heading towards physical and emotional depletion. The one simple thing you can do right now to protect your wellbeing? Block out your holidays.

Grab a diary or your google calendar and follow these simple steps to prevent burnout.

1. Work out how many holidays you have left for the year

Work out your company allowance and if you have any days carried over from 2020. Or if you are self-employed, the standard holiday allowance is around 25 days plus bank holidays so use that as a marker. It is not easy to take days out of your own business, especially when you work alone or in a very small team. However, allocating sufficient rest days is essential to reduce risk of injury or illness, which could ultimately result in weeks or months off.

2. Disperse your holidays throughout the year

When I was a primary school teacher we had breaks between every 6 and 8 weeks which worked out perfectly so that we could renew our energy and return for the start of the next term feeling refreshed. Could you explore plotting in some long weekends alongside some extended trips? Make this fun – rope in a loved one or a friend and start planning some adventures together that you can look forward to.

3. Protect that time

Protect your holidays as if they are an important meeting with a client. This can be challenging if you work in an environment where you can be made to feel guilty for taking time off. Initially setting a boundary can feel uncomfortable, especially if you are a people pleaser. However, in time your employer will learn what you will and will not accept, and in standing your ground you make space for others to enjoy time off guilt-free too.

4. Watch your success and productivity improve

Just as our muscles grow during rest periods, our brains too need space to completely detach from work in order to come back stronger. That is why our greatest insights often do not arise when staring at a laptop screen, but when we step away. As a recovering workaholic, one of the most important things that I have learned is that rest is an integral part of success – not the opposite of it. And taking time out is one of the quickest ways to restore energy, boost focus and increase productivity inside and outside of the workplace.

Want to learn the 5 morning rituals every high achiever needs to move from exhausted to energised? Access my “How to Start Your Day With Balance (and prevent burnout)” audio training now.

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