Giving yourself time off work is essential, but it can be hard to switch off when you're battling a guilty conscience. Follow these simple steps to put yourself in control before the break so you can kick back, relax and enjoy the festivities – totally guilt-free.

The festive period is almost upon us, giving workers a precious few days to unwind from the stress of the nine to five. But according to a recent survey by BrightHR, 83.3% of UK workers didn't take their full annual leave entitlement for 2018 and no doubt the same will be said for 2019.

This is a testament to a widespread, and terribly dangerous, guilt culture that has shaped working life across the UK in recent years. Many will recognise a mentality that arriving at your desk early, staying late and working out of hours is bona fide proof that you're a hard worker, a more valuable employee, and each hour overtime is time well spent.

While this may be true in some cases, science says differently on the whole. People who work excessive hours are often not using their working day as productively as they could be. All the while, they put themselves at risk of suffering from workplace burnout, heart disease, stress, mental illness, strokes, and diabetes.

Making sure you recharge your batteries is crucial. But before you head out the office, make sure you follow these tips to give you the best chance of logging off without the guilt.

Review the past year
It's important to learn from the year's mistakes and successes. Look back at the past year and ask yourself: how did I do and what could I do better? Review the work you've done, the people you've served, the money you've made. Coming together as a team to review the year, or honing in on your personal development, can be very beneficial to gain a new perspective on your work that you can carry into the new year.

Set goals for the new year
Identify your strategic priorities and how you will measure success for each of these. What combination of projects and on-going work will help you to reach these targets? Under each of your strategic goals, write down a metric that you can track to measure your success. When you return after the break you'll be ready to set the wheels in motion.

Do an inbox cleanse
A messy inbox can cloud your mind and inhibit you from feeling completely at the reins of your work. Make sure you tidy things up to help you feel in control and able to log off without feeling the need to check in over the break. Don't know where to start? Try downloading Cleanfox for a helping hand.

Download productivity tools to hit the ground running
Getting yourself organised for the new year before you've even waved goodbye to the old one can be a great way to encourage a positive attitude towards your work. Check out our top tools to help productivity and get downloading.

Lead a good example
If you're in charge of a team, make sure you lead a good example. Ensure that employees understand that your organisation encourages a healthy work/life balance, and make sure everyone is fully aware of your holiday policy. Encouraging breaks is key to ensuring healthy, happy staff.

Resist workaholic temptations
If you feel guilty for not working, even after you’ve clocked off, it could be a reflection on your productivity in working hours or unrealistic demands you're working towards. Try deleting work emails off your phone during the festive period or managing your workload so you're ahead of the game. 

Allow yourself to have fun! 
Last but not least...get ready to enjoy yourself. Make plenty of plans ahead of your last day to ensure that you're distracted and aren't tempted to check in with work. You'll reap the benefits if you're fully in the moment and enjoy the fact that you don’t need to be juggling work commitments. Make the most of it!

Looking for some great activities across London over your festive holiday? Take a look at our top festive party venues [link to article].

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