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woman relaxing on annual leave

Lockdown: Why It’s Still Important To Use Your Annual Leave

3 MIN READ • 16th May 2022
Health and Wellbeing by Health and Wellbeing

Whether we can go abroad or not this year, it’s important for your mind to have a rest – here’s why it’s important to use your annual leave

Have you used many of your assigned holiday days this year? Your answer is likely to be ‘no’, as a study by British Airways revealed that one-third of Brits did not use up all of their annual leave in 2017, losing an average of four days each, and 69 percent did not take a two-week holiday. We all know that this year is going to be a bit strange, but it’s still important to take a break from work, even if you can’t go anywhere. Here, we look at why it’s so hard to press pause, and how you can create a holiday from home.

Why aren’t we taking our annual leave?

If someone said to you that you had to do an extra four days of work for free, we’re betting you’d protest, but not taking all of your holiday entitlement is the equivalent of doing just that, so why do we do it? A big issue, unfortunately, seems to be that we are worried about leaving the office – 16 percent of respondents to the survey said they felt guilty, whether that’s because they were concerned about other people having to do their work, or that there would be a lot to do when they came back.

However, there are so many proven benefits to taking a holiday that actually not having one could be detrimental to your health. Yes, really – from helping to prevent burnout and increasing happiness to extending your lifespan and improving your engagement, there are so many advantages. They can even help your employer too, as a recent study revealed that 66 percent of UK workers feel more productive on their return to the office.

How to take guilt-free annual leave

It really is possible to have a break from the office, without worrying about not being there.

  • Before you leave, finish what you’re working on so you’re not coming back to a task that’s only half done. Spend a few minutes tidying up your desk too, as this will mean that you’ll be ready to get going again when you return
  • Remember to delegate any tasks that will need to be done while you’re away to your colleagues – perhaps you could have a meeting with them to run through everything before you leave so everyone is clear
  • Don’t check your emails while you’re away and turn off any notifications – you’re meant to be having a complete break, so reading them will not help and could cause more stress when you’re meant to be relaxing
  • Re-frame the guilt – tell yourself that a break will benefit you in the long run and you’ll return feeling rested and energised

How to have a staycation at home

A foreign holiday might seem out of reach, but there are lots of ways to recreate that feeling from the comfort of your own home, as the experts at HomeAway (homeaway.co.uk) explain.

Get inspired by the local cuisine

Why not recreate the staple cuisine of your favourite holiday destination? Looking to get the kids involved? You can keep them busy by hosting your own pizza making workshop, inspired by the Italians.

Costa Del… back garden

There is no better place to kick back and relax than your own garden. Although we may not all be lucky enough to have a pool, a paddling pool will do for an afternoon ‘dip’ with the kids. Now is also the perfect time to invest in some garden furniture. Be the envy of your neighbours by purchasing a hammock or treat yourself to an al fresco dining set and enjoy a BBQ.

Is that a garden or a beach?

Why not turn a corner of your garden into a make-shift beach? Get out the kids’ sandpits to keep them entertained – you could even have a ‘best sandcastle’ competition to keep things exciting. There’s no better time to make yourself your favourite fruity cocktail. Get out the deck chairs and relax while the kids are busy building sandcastles.

Put the world on hold

The best part of being on holiday for many is the feeling of escape from our everyday, busy lives. With technology playing a massive part in our day-to-day, going on holiday and switching off, literally, can help you to truly relax.

Have fun!

The most important thing to do when on holiday is to have fun! Got a tent lying around? Take a camping trip in your own garden. Or, if you fancy some family fun rivalry, what better way to spend the afternoon than a water fight – a great, make-shift alternative to a swimming pool or water park. Commandeer as many buckets, tubs, water pistols and spray bottles as you can, fill them up and go wild!

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