Mental health & wellbeing

Need to recharge? Four ways to unwind without taking an extended holiday

Martin Kovacs /

If you’re looking to recharge but struggling to find the time to do so, consider taking regular, shorter periods of time off to unwind rather than the traditional extended holiday.

Writing at the Harvard Business Review, time management coach and founder of Real Life E Time Coaching & Speaking, Elizabeth Grace Saunders, details the rationale behind ‘micro-vacations’.

“In my experience as a time management coach and as a business owner, I’ve found that vacations don’t have to be big to be significant to your health and happiness,” she writes.

“In fact, I’ve been experimenting with the idea of taking ‘micro-vacations’ on a frequent basis, usually every other week. These small bits of time off can increase my sense of happiness and the feeling of having ‘room to breathe’.”

Take advantage of the weekend

A two or three-day weekend trip may provide a much-needed getaway and help you to recharge ahead of the coming week.

“To make the trip as refreshing as possible, consider taking time off on Friday so you can wrap up packing, get to your destination, and do a few things before calling it a night,” Saunders writes.

“That still leaves you with two days to explore the area. If you get home by dinnertime on Sunday, you can unpack and get the house in order before your work-week starts again.”

Allocate time for personal tasks

Your to-do list of non-work tasks may be building, and it may well make sense to take vacation time to get on top of things, rather than squeezing tasks in in the evening or on weekends.

“Consider taking an afternoon — or even a full day — to take an unrushed approach to all of the non-work tasks that you really want to do but struggle to find time to do,” Saunders advises.

Take time to socialise

It could also be worthwhile taking a few hours out of your day to catch up with friends instead of trying to find time on the weekends or during evenings that may potentially encroach on family time.

“One way to find time for friends without feeling like you’re sacrificing your family time is to take an hour or two off in a day to meet a friend for lunch or to get together with friends before heading home,” Saunders says.

“If you’re allowed to split up your vacation time in these small increments, a single vacation day could easily give you four opportunities to connect with friends who you otherwise might not see at all.”

Going remote

If you have the ability to work remotely, consider taking advantage of this option.

Saunders observes remote work “is not technically a ‘micro-vacation’, but it can often feel like one”, while those who have a long commute may be able to use that time for other personal tasks.

“Also, for individuals who work in offices that are loud, lack windows, or where drive-by meetings are common, working remotely can feel like a welcome respite,” she writes.

“Plus, you’re likely to get more done. A picturesque location can also give you a new sense of calm as you approach stressful projects. I find that if I’m working in a beautiful setting, like by a lake, it almost feels as good as a vacation.”

NOW READ: Work-life balance: How to accomplish more in less time

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Martin Kovacs

Martin Kovacs is a journalist with experience covering the IT, consumer electronics, retail, finance and energy sectors.

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