The year is drawing to a close but it always seems to be more of a wind-up than a wind-down.

People you haven't seen for months insist on catching-up before Christmas, there are work parties, school prizegivings, and concerts, gifts to buy, baches to book, meals to plan and often guests to accommodate.

And it's always on a tighter budget.

To top it off you have worked overtime so you can justify taking leave and left such a comprehensive handover it feels like you did the work yourself.


Fast forward through the carving of the ham or plant-based delicacy, the Boxing Day sales and car/boat/plane trip to your holiday destination.

You are finally at your place of relaxation but despite the exhaustion, you can not switch-off.

You have two weeks to relax before you go back to work - so what should you do?

Kris de Jong, life coach at Eclipse Life Coaching, said it's important for people to start de-stressing as soon as they can once on holiday.

Anything work-related should take a low priority in order to really be able to recover from the work year de Jong said.

Leave your laptop at home if possible, and steer clear of work emails.

"Make sure your boss and colleagues know you won't be contactable during the holidays or If your job requires that you be available, schedule a specific time each day to deal with any work activities.

"Then you can focus on relaxing for the rest of the day."


If worrying work thoughts enter your mind when you are on holiday acknowledge them but allow them to drift away and focus on the present.

The more you do this, the better your holiday is going to be.

Simplifying and sharing cooking and household chores on holiday will allow more time to kick back and relax.

Often people relax on holiday by sleeping in, lounging around, eating a lot, and drinking alcohol in the sun, but de Jong said there are better ways to treat your body in order to rejuvenate after a stressful work year.

Sleep and exercise and a balanced diet will help body and mind recover.

"Getting more sleep is a great idea while on holiday, but it can also be a good opportunity to get more exercise to help you feel rejuvenated," he said.

"Overeating, drinking too much and lazing around in the sun lounger all day will probably make you feel off-color and lethargic rather than revitalised."

For busy professionals with families de Jong said there is often little time alone to relax.

"If you can't seem to find any 'me' time, schedule it in, even if it's just for an hour or so, and let the family know you need some space to yourself for a little while," he said.

"Just going for a walk along the beach or in the bush can help to clear your mind and soothe your nerves."

Once the initial exhaustion has worn off, de Jong said it was a good time to de-stress and prepare for the year ahead.

Reading a good book under the shade of a tree was a great way to relax.

"Reading an inspirational biography may help to motivate you for the work year ahead," he said.

"Going for a swim makes you feel fresh and alive, and connects you with nature."

And if you want to use some of your break to think about your career future, de Jong suggests setting aside half a day to write down what you want in your work.

Be as specific as you can, and then write down how you might get there.

"You can then start to implement your new strategies as soon as you get back to work."