Prepare yourself mentally for a holiday

Not in the sense that you’ll feel good if you pretend you have a holiday coming. Rather in the sense that if you dread holidays or you dread how you feel at the start of them plus everybody around you can’t bear your company until halfway through the trip, you can do something about it in advance.

As you start your vacation, you’ll want to relax as quickly as possible. But a more effective approach is to transition slowly, allowing your mind and body to get used to the change, particularly if your prep time was very stressful. Research shows that stress can dampen our immune system. It’s true that stress hormones like cortisol prop us up for a time. But if we relax too quickly, letting go of that support before our immune system can recuperate, we can expose ourselves to illness. So maintain a similar level of mental and physical activity for the first few days of your holiday then ease into full relaxation.

Get in the Right State of Mind for Vacation – Alexander Caillet, Jeremy Hirshberg and Stefano Petti, Harvard Business Review (29 June 2015)

Read the full piece for a lot more advice on how to treat your holiday as a job.