As South African workers, students and learners start feeling the happy vibes of holidays that are just around the corner, many will try to just muddle through the next few days or weeks, forgetting that holidays can actually be a very stressful time.
To make the most of this festive season, and relax and unwind sufficiently to get back in the saddle with renewed energy in January, there are a few small things that can be done so as not to let anxieties about returning to work or school spoil a chunk of the holiday, an expert says.

She says to make the most of one’s holidays, one should:


Make sure that all the jobs, tasks and projects scheduled for this year are done and dusted  before you leave for the holidays, she says.
“Make a to-do list for the remaining worktime in this year and take satisfaction in ticking off one after the next task. Clear your inbox and remember to set up an out-of-office reminder on your last day.”


Ensure that people know where to reach you in case of an emergency, but resolve to stay away from “just quickly checking in” at work, or spending most of your days on social media.
“Give your brain a real chance to shut off and rest,” says Coughlan. “You will find that when you give your mind this kind of space, all kinds of new ideas and visions for the future will find their way into the space which used to be filled with status updates and online rage.”


“Knowing that once your break is over you will be returning to another year of more of the same – and even more of the same – can be a real downer,” says Coughlan.
“For human beings to grow and become more self-actualised, each year must allow new opportunity for growth. During your time off, take stock of your direction. Are you doing what you love? Is there something else you would like to explore? Perhaps you can start exploring that by joining a short course or signing up for a programme? Taking a step in the direction you want to be going, however small, will put a new spring in your step.”


Whether it be starting to train for your first 5K run, starting a blog, or learning a new language, doing something fun and constructive will immediately get you energised and inspired, says Coughlan.
“The trick is to not while away your precious days with eating, partying and sleeping day after day. While there is certainly space for that, a confidence-building activity and a vision for the future will do much more to restore your mind and body, and help you start 2016 in the way you would like it to end – on a high note,” she says.