and allowing yourself to become bored enough to miss work.? Those who work in demanding or high-stress ?helping professions? such as counselling, nursing or teaching may need to take shorter, more frequent breaks each year (as well as a longer one) to prevent burnout, adds Old. The quality of down time is the clincher, says Annelie Keyter, a registered research psychologist at the Health Professions Council of South Africa. ?Several shorter breaks can contribute to a greater number of happy moments whereas a longer break can contribute to a deeper sense of relaxation.? Have you ever postponed a holiday because of deadlines? If you want to ensure you get enough leisure time, it?s wise to plan breaks in advance and follow through. ?Diarise planned activities and stick to them,? advises Keyter. ?Organise reading clubs and movie nights and arrange babysitting groups to help you disconnect from life stressors. Light candles and take a long soothing bath or take up meditation.? The important thing is to resist the urge to take work-related phone calls or check emails, Keyter adds, or to talk or think about the job. Old agrees: ?Think of when work calls you when you are relaxing ? your body will immediately tense up and transport you from your holiday back to work, and you may be left worried or stressed even after attending to it.?

Embrace the staycation

While not everyone can afford an all-inclusive sunny getaway at a fi ve-star resort, there?s plenty of value to holidays at home. So-called ?staycations? can be an affordable way to recharge your batteries if you take a creative approach ? but there?s also a real concern that workaholics won?t take time off when there are chores to do. Old says it?s helpful to get out of the house and pre-plan low-cost activities around your area, lest you are tempted to do laundry, renovate or watch endless television. ?Try hikes, picnics or exploring your local cultural places. If all else fails, embrace your South African culture and have a braai with friends. The key is to have fun, and not add to your stress levels.?


How does South Africa measure up when it comes to days off work for public holidays and leave*?

SOUTH AFRICA PUBLIC HOLIDAYS: 12 PAID LEAVE: 15 MOZAMBIQUE PUBLIC HOLIDAYS: 12 PAID LEAVE: 7 If there are chores to do, Old recommends splitting them among family. By working at the same time, if possible, the whole family has a designated time to relax together afterwards. Keyter says staycations are a great opportunity for ?me time?. Why not use the time to get back into shape, learn a new hobby or try a wellness activity such as yoga? An inspiring new passion will make you feel more enthusiastic about life ? and work. ?What recharges one person may not work for the other. Decide what motivates you,? she adds.

Back to the daily grind?

So you?ve just returned from two weeks on a beach in Bali and you?re back in a cubicle stuck behind a computer. Depressed? There are a number of practical things you can do to extend the holiday glory days, advises Old. 12 MOMENTUM HEALTH

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