If you have ever felt incredibly tired after a long weekend, you’re not alone.
But isn’t that contrary? Shouldn’t you be even more rested after some time off work?
Well, it’s very possible that you’re not maximizing your holiday- the right way.
Holidays should be about resting and unwinding for you to recharge. Here are some common practices that actually take away from your holiday experience.
1. Your days are too packed
When a long weekend presents itself, so many of us are tempted to go do a little sightseeing or travel a little. And to “maximize” the opportunity, we pack our schedules with everything we feel like we “should” do.
Filling up your days with a full itinerary doesn’t really allow you to take breaks and relax completely, because your mind keeps focusing on the next thing to do.
Instead, try having a few days in your schedule empty so you can properly rest and reset your mind. Getting lost in an enjoyable activity or hobby can help relieve the stress of the next thing on the “to-do list”.
2. You don’t make time for sleep
Everyone has some form of sleep debt. Everyone also need different hours of sleep a night, but the recommended average sleep duration is 7.5 hours.
That being said, if given the chance, most people will sleep until they can’t anymore- which is about 8.5 hours long.
The less time you sleep, the less time your body has to break down a chemical called adenosine that builds up in your blood when you’re awake. Adenosine makes you sleepy, so the more adenosine you have in your blood, the more tired you feel.
In this case, it would probably be best to catch up on all the sleep debt and take as much time as you need to get those z’s in.
However, if you know someone who consistently oversleeps and still feels tired, it may be a sign that something’s not right.
Oversleeping is known as hypersomnia (the opposite of insomnia, when you can’t sleep), and there are quite a number of causes for it.
The quality of sleep you’re getting could be bad due to distractions such as light pollution or an uncomfortable mattress, all which affects how well you rest.
On the other hand, hypersomnia can be due to real health issues such as sleep apnea (obstruction of breathing when you sleep), depression, or even heart disease.
3. You don’t unplug completely
It’s been proven that using your phone on your off-time doesn’t count as rest, because your brain is reacting to all that social media you’re scrolling through.
Not only that, but even thinking about work can stress you out! So if you’re on holiday, make sure to mute any work-related messages and instead engage your mind with non-work related activities, such as hiking or reading a fiction novel.
4. Your energy is drained by festivities and socializing
Most of us like to take additional days off during the festive season, but then feel drained when we return. This is because festive seasons tend to be a jovial affair with many events and people: all these require your energy and mental capacity.
The thing is, people are exhausting to deal with, even if you’re an extrovert! Hanging around extended family makes it even harder, because it’s generally expected that you have a quick chat with relatives that you haven’t seen in a while.
Plus, having family over also means additional work for the hosts, who have to start preparing for the festivities weeks beforehand.
5. You overexcite your adrenal glands and lose sleep
Festive seasons are also a time to indulge, so even the people who usually control their diet may end up drinking alcohol or overeating.
This in turn triggers the adrenal glands into working overtime from the stress of preparing for the holidays, the copious amounts of sugar, and the prevalence of alcohol.
Larger amounts of alcohol can mess up melatonin, the hormone that regulates our sleep, for up to 7 nights.
Even overeating on ‘exciting’ foods such as sugar or spicy foods can cause stomach discomfort, which would lead to interrupted or poor sleep as well.
6. You jump right back to work after a holiday
It’s always a good idea to have a buffer day in between your holiday and the day you return to work, especially if you’ve travelled.
This is a literal break from your break and gives you time to wind down, unpack, and mentally prepare yourself to return to work.
At the minimum, this should be a few hours to settle down, but ideally it should be a full day to properly collect your thoughts and realign yourself. Catch up on work emails or briefly update yourself on industry happenings so you can eliminate any anxieties or uncertainties about work.
Then the next day, you can return to work refreshed, relaxed, and in the best state of mind to do a good job!
Anne is an advocate of sustainable living and the circular economy, and has managed to mum-nag the team into using reusable containers to tapau food. She is also a proud parent of 4 cats and 1 rabbit.