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Switching off over Christmas

Here are our tips to help you take time away from work over the festive season. Remember, you can contact our helpline if you need confidential, emotional support over the holidays. 

Christmas tree in an office - Photo by Sven Brandsma on Unsplash

The build-up to Christmas is hectic with the rush to get work finished off, the parties and the last-minute shopping. All these activities can leave us feeling stressed and tired before the festivities have even properly begun.  

Many of us will take time off over Christmas but it can be very difficult to switch off, especially with hybrid working and when technology has made it so easy for us to stay connected. Here are our tips to make your break as relaxing as possible and to help you start back in the new year feeling well rested.  

Prepare 

Discuss your workload with colleagues; if the office is open whilst you are off find out who will be covering your work - it might be best to pass your work over to several people. Let clients know as early as possible that you are taking some time off and who they should ask for in your absence.  

Set expectations 

Use the last day or two before your holiday to clear the decks, put ongoing work into a holding pattern, and update clients on the progress of their matter. Let people know whether you can be contacted, and under what circumstances - don’t say you will be checking email if you don’t want to or will be unable to.  

We suggest leaving your work phone and laptop in a drawer at home, so the temptation isn’t there. It’s not a break if you are mentally still in the office, and you will be better at your job if you return to work refreshed. 

Checking email 

If you must check your email whilst you are on leave, disable email notifications so you don’t pick up your phone every few minutes, and don’t carry your work phone around with you. You could ask a colleague to forward anything urgent to your personal email address (so you don’t need to look at all the other emails) or set certain times aside to check your inbox.  

If you are going away for Christmas, remember there may not be Wi-Fi or 4G where you are going, and different time zones may make it difficult replying to emails. 

Set an out of office 

Set an out of office and voicemail while you are on holiday. If you are worried about an avalanche of emails on your return, ask for important emails to be resent after you get back. You could also say that you will be back a day or two later than you actually are so you have time to catch up. 

Returning to work 

You might want to book in something in the first week back in January to look forward to, perhaps a yoga class or lunch with a colleague. Try to focus on what you love about your job and congratulate yourself for what you achieve during those first few days back. If the post-holiday blues don’t dissipate after a few days, it might be time to think about your work life and whether it is making you unhappy. Perhaps you need to make some changes, or even look for a new role.  

LawCare provides emotional support to anyone working the legal profession. Our support service offers a safe place to talk without judgement. We’re here to help, with helpline calls, emails and webchats answered in confidence by trained staff and volunteers who have first-hand experience of working in the law. We also have a network of peer supporters. 

If the thought of Christmas is causing you concern and you need to talk, call our free, independent and confidential helpline. It is open throughout the holiday period (except weekends and bank holidays). Call 0800 279 6888 or go to www.lawcare.org.uk  

We're here to listen...without judgement

Contact our free, confidential, emotional support service for the legal sector
0800 279 6888
Email our support team [email protected]

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