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Whether you’re counting down the days until the long weekend or you are dreading another long enforced break from working as you are unsure what you are going to fill it doing, bank holidays are an essential break for many in the UK. 
The Book Chained to the Desk by Bryan E. Robinson describes workaholism as the ‘best-dressed and least-recognized addiction’. The bank holidays can at times feel like a disruption in our weekday routine and workplace rhythm, but they are so important for our mental health. And here’s why… 

Reduced stress levels 

Just a change of scenery can work wonders for our mental health. And the prospect of an additional day off to spend with loved ones, make the most of the sunshine or tick off a few jobs around the house can be enough to cheer anyone up. 
Activities like this give our bodies a massive dopamine boost which makes us feel happy and like we’ve achieved something in our day - something we’re often lacking in the work week. 

Improved sleep quality 

Does anyone else get excited about switching off their alarm at the weekend? Not only does it take away the stress and dread of an early morning, but it also gives our bodies the chance to catch up with themselves. The amount of sleep that we need isn’t always fixed to that recommended 8 hours a night. So, switching off your alarm and allowing yourself to lay in for an extra day every so often is good for the body and great for the mind. 

Work life balance 

By breaking our routines, taking time for ourselves and switching off from work long enough to see that the whole company won't crumble if we dont reply to our emails straight away can be a confusing feeling to process. But that re-energised feeling that you get at the end of a long weekend should be a great reminder that “I really need to do this more often”. 
Maintaining a healthy work life balance is essential for our mental health and can actually improve our positivity, productivity and presentness back in the workplace after your break. 

So how can you really switch off this bank holiday? 

1. Turn off your alarm clock and sleep in. 
I always look forward to switching off my alarm on a bank holiday weekend. Just the act of turning this off is enough to reduce stress and improve the overall quality of your sleep so you wake up feeling refreshed and full of energy. 
2. Turn off your work phone. 
This might sound obvious, but turning off your phone is a sure fire way to make sure you switch off from work completely and allow your brain the rest. If it’s not possible to switch off your phone completely, put on your ‘out of office’ and turn off your notifications so you can be fully present however and with whoever you spend your long weekend with. 
3. Don't make plans for the sake of being busy 
Just because you have some free time doesn't mean you have to spend every minute of it doing something. Make sure that you don’t overwhelm yourself and plan too much for your long weekend just because you feel you should. You don't want to spend the last day of your time off looking forward to heading back to work to recover! 
4. Reward yourself with some “me time” 
Taking time for yourself can feel just as re-energising for some people as going out or spending time with friends. There’s no need to feel pressured into doing anything that won't benefit you and your mental health, so spend the day baking cookies in your pyjamas if that’s what’ll make you happy! Days like this aren’t wasted if you feel like your body and mind need it. 
5. Plan some activities that’ll give you a dopamine boost 
Doing the stuff we love makes us happy. So, whether this is going out, meeting up with family, walking the dog in the sunshine, working on your car, getting some friends over to watch your favourite movie box set or cooking a fancy dinner for you and your partner, be sure to factor the time in to do these things. This way you won’t ever feel guilty for wasting this time and will return to work ready to take on whatever’s thrown your way. 
If you find it hard to switch off, or know someone at work who does, book a fully free, fully confidential call with me today to find out how we can help. I’d love to hear from you so we can start helping you find your true freedom today. 
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