To keep up your motivation and inspiration, not only for work but for life in general, you need holidays. Regular times away from your everyday work and duties provide stress relief and emotional restoration. Holidays focus your mind on fun, family and relaxation – all crucial for your wellbeing.
Your body is designed to respond in a particular way when you face sudden threats or stressors. This stress response gives you special abilities to deal with the situation. Your body releases huge amounts of the hormones adrenaline and cortisol into your bloodstream, which prepare you for “fight” or “flight”. They raise your blood pressure, speed up your heart rate, release extra energy to your muscles, improve your vision and clear your thoughts by letting more blood flow to the brain.
Getting stressed out happens when you do not relax after a stress response. Instead, your stress response remains active and your adrenaline and cortisol levels stay high. This is stress overload. Instead of motivating you, this kind of stress runs your body down, makes you feel depressed and overwhelmed, and contributes to illness by weakening your immune system.
We all experience stressors every day, and the stress response kicks in instantly. But to get back to a state of calm takes about 30 minutes.
This is the process:
- You experience a stressful feeling (e.g. fear, anger).
- You realise what happened and think about it.
- You relax and feel some release, maybe through physical rest, exercise or relaxation activities.
- You get back to where you were before (equilibrium).
The key to managing stress is to take action every day to avoid an unhealthy build-up of stress. This is easier said than done, which is why holidays are so important. Holidays are the time to be deliberately good to yourself before tackling the challenges of the New Year with fresh motivation, inspiration and emotional vigour.
Holiday to-do list
- Assess your stress level and identify the stressors in your life.
- Develop your own plan to manage stress in the New Year and to enjoy a healthy lifestyle.
- Learn to recognise and use the positive aspects of stress to motivate you and give you energy to achieve your goals.
- Learn to recognise the negative aspects of stress and how to cope with them.
- Have fun! Laugh! Laughter and thinking about positive things release endorphins into your bloodstream. Endorphins make you feel calmer and more
- cheerful. There is truth in the old saying, “laughter is the best medicine.”
- Be realistic. Life is not fair and there are many things you can’t change.