How to leave the stress of work at the aeroplane door

Paradise Lost: Thanks to work phones, stress can follow you to the ends of the earth

Exercise can help ease the transition from boardroom to beach

The virtues of vacations are well known. In 2006, EY found that for every additional 10 hours of holiday taken by members of staff, their end of year performance ratings increased by 8 per cent. But for those with busy lives, it can be hard to leave the pressures of work in the departure lounge. So here are some tips for making every minute count.


Experts have suggested that you need to be in the right frame of mind before you even board the plane. According to clinical psychologist Deborah Mulhern, if you fail to achieve this, you will struggle to relax on your holiday at all. She told ABC News that “without time and opportunity to do this, the neural connections that produce feelings of calm and peacefulness become weaker, making it actually more difficult to shift into less-stressed modes.”
Those with hectic work schedules can even suffer from nausea when they stop rushing around and take some time off. Dutch psychologist Ad Vingerhoets has conducted research into this phenomenon, known as leisure sickness, whereby the human body delays fatigue and illness until there is time for recuperation. He recommends doing physical exercise on the eve of your break, to ease yourself into the transition.


Your chances of relaxing are improved if you are confident your colleagues will hold the fort in your absence. “To set yourself up for a stress-free vacation, begin preparing yourself and your team two weeks in advance,” executive coach Meredith Haberfeld told Forbes.
It is your responsibility to ensure that appropriate cover is in place to handle any operations which can’t wait until your return. If you do have to work, “establish a schedule with your co-workers for when you will work. For example, you could work from nine to noon everyday”, suggests Kenneth Matos, senior director of research at the Families and Work Institute. He told the Washington Post that this kind of schedule “allows co-workers to coordinate their requests and expectations for answers with when you are expecting to do work,” giving you a long period of uninterrupted relaxation every day.


Following government-backed studies, German car manufacturer Daimler introduced an out-of-office feature for vacationing staff, which advises correspondents to send their emails to other staff, or they will be deleted. While this may be a pipe-dream for many of us, you should embrace ways to escape the inbox avalanche on your first day back.
Inform your principal clients that you are going away beforehand, set up a clear and courteous out-of-office message to ensure that clients know you can’t deal with requests immediately, and appoint a trusted colleague to handle any urgent calls or emails. “I check my email at least once a day at a predetermined time to address anything urgent”, entrepreneur Eric Holtzclaw told Inc. “I redirect as many of the emails as I can for others to handle.”

La plume de ma tante

A great way to brush up on the French or German you’ve been threatening to revisit, Memrise is a language-learning app with a difference. Available for Android and iOS, it uses a variety of different games modes, including visual learning and rapid recall, to target different aspects of memory and teach users up to 44 words an hour. Thousands of courses are offered, from obscure idioms to handy business phrases. Languages range from Icelandic to Mandarin, Arabic to Esperanto.

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