5 min read

How to switch off & have a real break

How to switch off and have a real break.


It’s time to plug in the Christmas lights and unplug from work. But that is easier said than done for many of us. The increase in flexible and remote working since the pandemic has been a blessing for many but has also blurred the boundaries between work and rest. 

Many of us think that taking time off is a luxury however, we must change our mindsets and see it is an absolute necessity. Failing to take a break – and we mean a real break – is bad for our health and wellbeing. You don’t need to look far to see the research linking chronic stress and various physical and physiological health effects; from contributing to high blood pressure and promoting artery-clogging deposits to causing brain changes that may contribute to anxiety depression and addiction. 

So, this Christmas, try to take a real rest from work and start seeing relaxation as an investment! Give your brain a break so you can come back to work happier, healthier – and more capable. Here’s how our team wind down and switch off over the Christmas break.


It’s safe to switch off

Taking holiday during the year can be tricky for some: “Have I left my team with all they need? Have I notified all my customers? Have I met all my deadlines? What have I got to catch up with when I get back?”. With all this swirling round your head, it can make it hard to enjoy your holiday.


“Switching off is not my forte. It is easier over the Christmas break as most other people are off as well so it feels ‘safe’ to take a break from work. It also means that you are allowing other people to take a break as well by not filling their inbox!”

– Pru Layton, Sales Team


But the Christmas period is different. Most people, including your colleagues and customers, will also be winding down for the Christmas holidays. Reminding yourself that others are taking time off can make it easier for you to take a break too.


“I remind myself that my customers are also off this time of year so they will unlikely be emailing me, and that the rest over Christmas is the most productive thing I can do for my brain & my business for the New Year. And above all, we deserve the rest!! We weren’t put on this planet to just work!”

– Vicky Cooper, Marketing Team


Get on yer bike and ride!

Some of us love it. Some of us hate it. However, all of us can benefit from exercise. Exercise has numerous benefits for both physical and mental well-being, and it can be a powerful tool for relieving stress and taking your mind off worries… and work!


“I always run in December every day for 25 minutes (mind you very slowly these days) and running round the countryside in Charnwood with my little dog helps me to get into the spirit.”

– Christian Walter, Sales Team


Every time we move, our bodies release chemicals that can have a significant positive effect on our mental and physical health. For example, exercise is known to boost endorphins, everyone’s favourite mood-boosting hormone, as well as reduce cortisol levels, which can help alleviate stress.


“Hard exercise – pain takes away all stress and lets you check out 100%!  So I cycle this which is also a place when I can clear your mind.”

– Jonathan Cooper, Director


You don’t need to hit the gym every day or pedal to exhaustion (like Jonthan) to reap the benefits of exercise. Whether it's a brisk walk, a vigorous workout, or a calming yoga session, finding an activity that you enjoy is key to incorporating exercise into your Christmas break. 


“I’m not good at switching off, but for me I like to walk. Sometimes in the countryside, depending on the weather, sometimes in cities. Usually by a canal or river. And always with a camera!”

-  Steve Vaughan, Sales Team


Switch off by switching on

The devil makes work for idle hands. And in this case, the devil’s work could be having a sneaky peek at your emails, indulging in unnecessary meetings, or working on your calendar for next year. While sitting in front of the TV with a cuppa tea is what a well-deserved break looks like to some, others find the call of work too much unless they keep busy. 


I think it helps to have a personal project to switch my focus to - finishing a book or a DIY project helps keep the mind busy but on an entirely different task.”

– Vicky Cooper, Marketing Team


Switching your time, attention and focus to something else is one way to keep your mind from wandering down a work rabbit-hole. Work is just a part of who we are. Yes, it can be a valuable and interesting part, but there are other facets of our lives that deserve our time and attention.


“With the New Year imminent, planning holidays when you have the whole year in front of you keeps my mind occupied.”

– Pru Layton, Sales Team


Digital detox

With the widespread adoption of remote work and the disappearance of a physical boundary between the office and home, it is harder than ever for many people to switch off. Not to mention the widespread use of digital communication platforms that make employees constantly accessible. 

Emails, message, and virtual meetings can literally happen at any timeleading to an “always-on” work culture. So turn it off!


"Switching off for me looks like switching on some other priorities. I set up my out of office and make sure my phone is not always in my hand. I plan time with my family and friends with the happy realisation that alarm clocks won’t be needed for a while…although 2 cats in the house certainly let me know loud and clear when they think I should be awake!"

– Jayne Green, Sales Team


It might be impossible for you to turn off your phone for the entirety of the holidays. Often, the phone we use for work, we also use to contact friends, family, and loved ones. But turning off your work email alerts, setting up an out of office, and turning off the screen for a period each day can help us live in the moment and focus on our own well-being without these digital distractions!


“I plan on leaving my phone in another room the majority of the holiday and having a real screen break - less likely to accidentally check emails and fall into a work hole!”

– Vicky Cooper, Marketing Team


Mindfulness and Meditation

Until recently, mindfulness and mediation were considered by many as spiritual, pseudoscientific drivel only practiced on middle-class yoga retreats. But more and more research suggests that meditation and mindfulness practices may affect the functioning or structure of the brain, reduce anxiety and depression, boost your immune system, help you manage pain, soothe insomnia and much more. 

Research on mindfulness and meditation is still in its infancy so we may have to take some extraordinary claims with a pinch of salt for the time being. However, the positive, personal experience of many and the promising emerging research is convincing. So why not try and find some space for it this season?


Luke Evans - Episode 7



Need more inspiration?


Why not give our podcast a listen. Episode 7 - Luke Evans of Heddway gives us an insight into his personal journey with mental health and how it evolved into a mission to change the way businesses think about mental fitness and well-being.   





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