Have a proper break this Christmas

Many of us will take time off over Christmas but it can be very difficult to switch off, especially when technology has made it so easy for us to stay connected. Here are our tips to make your break as relaxing as possible.

Prepare

Discuss your workload with colleagues; if the office is open whilst you are off find out who will be covering your work – it might be best to pass your work over to several people. Let clients know as early as possible that you are taking some time off and who they should ask for in your absence. 

Set expectations

Use the last day or two before your holiday to clear the decks, put ongoing work into a holding pattern, and update clients on the progress of their matter. Let people know whether you can be contacted, and under what circumstances – don’t say you will be checking email if you don’t want to, or will be unable to. We suggest leaving your work phone and laptop in a drawer at home so the temptation isn’t there.  It’s not a break if you are mentally still in the office, and you will be better at your job if you return to work refreshed and well rested. 

Checking email

If you must check email whilst on annual leave, disable email notifications so you don’t pick up your phone every few minutes, and don’t carry your work phone around with you. You could ask a colleague to text you about really urgent emails so you don’t need to keep checking your work email, or set certain times aside to check your inbox. If you are going away for Christmas remember there may not be Wi-Fi or 4G where you are going, and different time zones may make it difficult replying to emails.  

Out of office

Set an out of office and voicemail while you are on holiday– if you are worried about an avalanche of emails on your return ask for important emails to be resent after you get back, or you might want to say you will be back a day or two later than you actually are to give you time to catch up.

Returning to work

You might want to book in something in the first week back in January to look forward to, a yoga class or lunch with a colleague for example. Try to focus on what you love about your job and congratulate yourself for what you achieve during those first few days back. If the holiday blues don’t dissipate after a few days it might be time to think about your work life and whether it is making you unhappy. Perhaps you need to make some changes, or even look for a new role.

LawCare provides emotional support to anyone working the legal profession. Our support service offers a safe place to talk without judgement. We’re here to help, with helpline calls, emails and webchats answered in confidence by trained staff and volunteers who have first-hand experience of working in the law. We also have a network of peer supporters. Call the helpline on 0800 279 6888 or visit www.lawcare.org.uk 

Elizabeth Rimmer, LawCare

 

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