Holiday guilt isn’t just confined to very long holidays either, with Sasha Hatter, a Client Service Manager from SupportRoom, sharing that she is racked with feelings of guilt and anxiety even though she was taking just a short break:
“I always look forward to taking a break as a time to rest and recharge and my mental health and happiness are a huge personal priority. I feel blessed to have as much time off as I do but leading up to the holiday can be quite stressful, trying to get things organised for the rest of the team while I am away.
Then once I am away it would be great, but it is often tricky to switch off, I find I’m always worried about “What’s happening?” or “Am I needed for something urgent?”
Coming back to loads of emails and having to catch up on everything that happened while I was away on holiday, makes it quite daunting to come back towards the end of the holiday.”
3 tips to help you stop feeling guilty and enjoy your holiday
#1 – Realise that a break helps you at work in the long-run
- You are never supposed to work 24/7 and without the opportunity to recharge, wind down, and de-stress, you cannot function at your best.
- You are not doing anyone a service if you are tired, burnt-out, and irritable, so accept that rest is an essential component of achievement and productivity. TOP TIP – To be able to help others, you need to be able to function at your best so carve out some time every day to rest, whether this is having a nap or having 30 minutes to yourself.
#2 – Change your mindset by observing your guilt
- The first thing to do when feeling guilty about going on holiday is to observe the thoughts appearing in your mind. Do not hold them as true, simply observe them being there. This can go a long way to figuring out exactly why you’re feeling guilty, and help you to change your mindset to something more positive.
- Once you’ve noticed a negative or guilty thought, try to engage the rational part of your mind and reassure yourself that you are worthy of taking time off, then try to reframe these thoughts more rationally e.g. you have earned the right to go on on holiday by being so productive, rather than focusing on the fact you’re not being ‘productive’. TOP TIP – Keep a journal of your thoughts and feelings. Not only will this help you track your progress but it can be great to refer back to when you’re struggling with particularly strong feelings of guilt.
#3 Fully disconnect from work
- While it can be difficult, having constant reminders of work while on holiday can easily put you back into that mindset and make those feelings of guilt pop up, so ensure it’s established that you are on holiday and unavailable and that any queries will be answered when you get back.
- If you need or want to check in at any point, keep this minimal and stick to a strict schedule – checking and organising your emails once every day can more than suffice.
TOP TIP – If you have a separate work phone or laptop, leave these at home – if not, block yourself from accessing work-related apps or getting notifications