Everyone needs a break: 5 ways to stop feeling guilty about taking holidays

As business owners, we work bloody hard. But for what?

If you’re not taking time off to enjoy the proceeds of your hard work, what’s the point?

This article looks at the importance of taking a break and how to fully switch off when you do.

So that instead of working through your ‘holiday’, you come back refreshed and reenergised.

Let’s get started.

Do as I say and not as I do

In January, I reflected on the craziness of last year.

My top tip to survive this year was to rest. I said taking a break in lockdown was not a waste of holidays – so did you do this?

Not that I can talk. I’m the one dishing out this advice but did I? No.

Well, not until the last few weeks, anyway.

Business owner and leader guilt are real. We feel guilty for taking a break, but why?

We all know that if we do, we’ll come back more effective and refreshed.

However, it’s much easier to tell that to those around us (clients, colleagues, friends and family) than do it ourselves.

How to take a proper holiday

someone reading upside down

Now we’re past so-called ‘freedom day’ (more like WTF day) how can we take a holiday without worrying everything will fall apart at work without us there?

And how do we switch off on holiday?

Five ways.

  1. Planning

Good planning helps everything run smoothly, even having a rest:

  • Look at your work cycles and team holidays and plan your time off around those.
  • Try and do as much in advance in the weeks (not days) leading up to your time off.
  • Don’t overcommit to too much work beforehand.

As the old saying goes: “discipline is freedom” and this is very true. If you’re organised before your holiday, you’ll feel free while you’re on holiday.

  1. Use Technology

Why do something yourself when you can have a computer do it for you?

  • Use social media scheduling software to plan and schedule posts in advance.
  • Use your out of office enail automation to tell people when to expect you back.
  • Take some time to set up process automation – it will lighten the load when you come back too.

People know you deserve time off. Don’t feel nervous about it.

  1. Lose Technology

This is perhaps the most important of all.

What’s the point in taking time off if you’re going to be glued to your phone?

  • Disconnect your work emails from your phone.
  • Delete work apps like LinkedIn so you’re not tempted to answer messages.
  • Think about deleting all social media apps for a real mental break.

All in all, the less tech the better.

  1. Focus on the positives

Don’t think about the holiday abroad you would have preferred. Enjoy the one you’re having.

Make the most of spending time with your family without being cooped up or having to think about the h-word (home-schooling).

Sorry if that brought back awful memories.

If you do have to isolate, make the most of what you can do. Don’t allow yourself to do any chores.

  1. Be kind to yourself

Overall, do things that make you happy:

  • Play computer games
  • Read (not business books)
  • Bake (not banana bread)
  • Take long baths
  • Stop feeling guilty

… enjoy it!

Can your business really not function without you?

Myers-Briggs Assessment with Tennick Accountants Team. The team sit around a table while I give feedback.

If you think that’s a ‘no’, think about this:

  1. If you don’t take a break and you burn out, the business might have to
  2. How can you look after everyone else unless you look after yourself?
  3. How can you possibly be at your best unless you rest?

Not taking a break is a great way to ensure your team fails.

Things have been hard for the last 18 months for everyone. Just because you can’t go to Spain doesn’t mean you don’t need a break. True, it might not be the break you had in mind, but it’s more needed now than ever.

I know I definitely benefitted from my recent break – even if it was with four teenagers.

Our weather might be miserable but we have a beautiful country we can finally explore again with our families.

And we can even hug grandma!



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