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Whilst many of us sadly won’t be jetting off on holiday this summer, it is still important to take some annual leave over the next couple of months, even if just for a staycation. Yes we’ve all been at home for weeks on end, but taking some time off at home is very different to trying to work from home through a pandemic. Most of us are exhausted from carrying the emotional load of the last few months - we all need time to rest, relax, recuperate and reset.
Reclaim the homeOur homes, once a safe sanctuary from the outside world, have been turned into offices and schools with piles of paperwork, electrical cables and chargers and school books cluttering surfaces. Whilst many of us will be continuing to work from home for a while yet, a break from work will give us an opportunity to clear the decks, to enjoy just being at home and reclaim it as our own space.
A break from screensMost of us have spent the last few months glued to a laptop screen and smartphone, whether that’s on a Zoom call for work or for social reasons, logging into school portals, or trying to stay in touch with friends and family. Our normal working day would have natural breaks away from screens – meetings, commuting, lunch breaks for example. Working from home and doing everything online has been much more intense. Wouldn’t it be nice to step away from the laptop for a week or so? To put your phone in a drawer and go out for the day? To not be distracted with emails, notifications and texts pinging into our inboxes? Also remember, your eyes need a break from all that screen-time, too.
Time to reflectLockdown was an intense period, with many of us surviving not thriving. Now that things have moved on, it offers a good opportunity to reflect on what has happened. How has it affected you? How are you feeling? Are you angry, sad, happy, bored? What would you like to change? Give yourself time to sit or think, or go for a walk in nature, or sit in a café (provided you feel safe) to think and start to process the last few months. It’s important to acknowledge difficult feelings rather than try to ignore them. You could consider online counselling or coaching to devote some time to exploring who you really are and what you want.
Look after yourselfWe have had many calls from people who have been working very long hours at home, they’ve not been looking after themselves and not felt able to get outside or see people and these are the people who have been struggling mentally. Some time off would give you time to restart some healthy habits - exercising, eating well, and getting enough sleep - to carry forward for the future and boost your mental wellbeing. Read a book, see a friend, daydream, get a haircut, switch off.
Quality time with loved onesWhilst you have may spent a great deal of time with your families recently, has it really been quality time? Have you had time to hang out together without work or school looming? Have you found yourself promising ‘in a minute’ to your children constantly? Are there things you would like to do together but you’ve not had chance? Some quality time off will help you all to bond and recover from what has been a stressful time.
Time off will make you better at your jobResearch from Sabine Sonnentag, professor of organizational psychology at the University of Mannheim in Germany shows that disengaging from work makes us more resilient in the face of stress and more productive and engaged at work. Having some time off will reenergise you.
LawCare provides emotional support to all legal professionals, support staff and their families. You can call our confidential helpline on 0800 279 6888, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or access webchat and other resources at www.lawcare.org.uk
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