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We’re counting down to the big day – catchy choruses and tacky Christmas jumpers have well and truly marked the arrival of the festive season. The Christmas tree reigns proudly in the corner of the office, smothered in tinsel and drowning in an array of mysterious Secret Santa presents. In the words of Band Aid, “it’s Christmas time, there’s no need to be afraid…”, yet there seems to be an underlying sense of apprehension amongst your team…

Christmas is exciting, but it can also mean looming deadlines, festive stresses, and worries about completing projects before signing out for the holidays. This can make taking annual leave a daunting prospect, causing both you and your team to struggle disconnecting and switching off over the break.

The corporate world is founded on the drive to be productive and constantly strive to achieve the next big thing, something which is both a blessing and a curse. This fast-paced working culture can easily overstep into you and your team’s home lives, tempting and even guilt tripping you into working over Christmas. However, by replying to emails or working on that project when you should be taking the annual leave you’ve booked, you’re much more likely to make yourself feel stressed and anxious, which, if ignored, can descend into burnout.

It couldn’t be more important for you and your team to encourage each other to take time for yourselves to relax, replenish, and rejuvenate this Christmas.

Why is taking a break important?

“Remember that work and life coexist. Wellness at work follows you home and vice versa.” – Melissa Steginus

Taking a break is important for your overall health and wellbeing, as it allows you time to reboot, refuel, and recharge your mind and body. Therefore, if you celebrate, it is crucial to take a proper break over Christmas in order to jumpstart your excitement and drive for the new year. By allowing yourself to experience the break, you will see improvements in your productivity levels and reduce the risk of stress and health issues that coincide with excessive work.

What are the benefits of taking a break?

You’re so used to being swept up in the whirlwind of work, it’s natural feel a sense of productivity guilt when you finally attempt to switch off. You might even find yourself thinking that taking a break is ‘unproductive’. It’s time to banish these thoughts: taking a break is actually extremely productive – it allows you to centre yourself and feel more present and mindful. As such, below are some of the benefits that accompany taking well-deserved breaks:

  • Improved health and wellbeing – ‘Tis the season to be jolly, after all… By taking the time to relax and focus on yourself over the holidays, you’ll not only feel more fulfilled and energetic, but you’ll also benefit from improved overall mindset, health, and wellbeing. Think: improvements in your sleeping pattern, social battery, and overall mental and physical health.
  • Enhanced productivity and motivation – By prioritising yourself, you can boost your productivity levels, motivation, and quality of work. When you disconnect and step away from your job, you’re much more likely to return to the workplace with a refreshed mind and excited attitude. Giving yourself the space to grow and gain more clarity can have a brilliant effect on your levels of motivation, productivity, and drive.
  • Healthier work-life balance – Taking time off will help you create a healthier work-life balance, ensuring you feel more refreshed and excited when you return to work, rather than feeling swamped by overstress and burnout. By finding that perfect balance between personal time and your job, you will see a significant increase in engagement levels among both you and your team.₁₀

The run-up to Christmas can be overwhelmingly hectic; not only is it stressful finishing up work before the holidays, but it is also stressful planning family gatherings, finding the perfect gift for a loved one, or organising travel. Therefore, it is more important than ever to encourage both yourself and everyone in your team to switch off, disconnect, and take a proper break this festive season.

How to take a proper break and encourage your team to do the same:

You deserve to enjoy the holidays, rest, and relax. Taking care of yourself should be your priority during this time – you can’t pour from an empty cup.11 As such, here are a few tips and tricks to help you and your team to switch off:


Remember to remind your team that taking a break is a good thing! Keep affirming the sentiment that it is important to have proper breaks because it recharges the body and mind. Encourage your team to reframe their language to change their mindset about taking breaks.

For example, if you hear a colleague worrying that they’re going to have a lot to catch up on when they get back, remind them that they deserve the rest and that the break will mean they’ll actually be raring to go when they return. If you change the focus to the positives, you’ll promote a culture of self-care and mindfulness.


Send warm and positive emails to promote better wellbeing ₁₃ and encourage your team to enjoy their Christmas break. By wishing your team a “Happy Christmas” or a good holiday, you will reassure everyone that they should be embracing their time off and relaxing. This will assure your team that having a proper break is essential, and will help reduce any anxiety or guilt surrounding not signing in. In addition, sending out warm emails will help promote a sense of community, boost morale, and show that you value your employees’ wellbeing.


“We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own ‘to-do list’.” – Michelle Obama₁₄


Christmas time is all about planning, but don’t forget to plan for your break too! Make sure your colleagues know when you’re taking time off and jot down in your planner what work you’d like to get done before leaving.₁₆ This will help you set boundaries with yourself, get a clear perspective of your workload, and allow you to fully enjoy your break.


Encourage your team to switch on their automatic out-of-office responses and update their voicemail.₁₇ This is a simple yet effective way to communicate expectations and ensure that colleagues and clients are aware of everyone’s unavailability. When others know you are on a break, they are less likely to expect immediate responses, thus allowing you time to properly disconnect, rest, and relax.


‘Actions speak louder than words’, and this couldn’t be more important when encouraging your team to embrace their holiday break. Leading by example will make your team feel better about taking a decent period of time off and encourage them to really relax into their Christmas break, as they know you’ll be doing the same!


This is your chance to really breathe and relax, so engage in activities that you love! Connect with loved ones, binge-watch Hallmark movies, or make that perfect hot chocolate. This is your time to relax and recharge so fill your cup up with whatever fuels you. It’s your perfect chance to slow down and reflect on your year and the lessons you’ve learned.


When you return, take a day or two to catch up on the work you’ve missed. Remember to be gentle with yourself, and don’t try and tackle too much at once. Set realistic goals for your first few days back and you’ll find your equilibrium in no time!

In Summary

It is essential that you and your team take a proper break this Christmas to cool down after a year of hard work and dedication. If you don’t allow your body and mind the chance to rest, you’ll find yourself struggling physically and mentally. So, take this time to practise self-care, find that balance between home life and work, and embrace the importance of looking after your health and wellbeing.

From everyone at Thrive4Life, Happy Christmas and a very Happy New Year!


1. Liu, Joseph. “Why Breaks are Essential for Career Success”, Forbes,

2. Plummer, Matt. “How to Actually Come Back from the Holidays Feeling Refreshed”, Harvard Business Review,

3. “55 Inspirational Work-Life Balance Quotes for Motivation”, Indeed,

4. “Encouraging your Employees to ‘Switch Off’ over Christmas”, Health Assured,

5. Scott, Ellen. “How to Disconnect from Work and Properly Enjoy your Christmas Break”, Stylist,

6. “5 Crucial Reasons Why You Need to Start Focusing on Yourself”, Relove and Rise,,are%20more%20playful%20and%20happy.

7. Saunders, Elizabeth Grace. “How to Take the Stress Out of Taking Time Off”, Harvard Business Review,

8. Wedgwood, Joe. “The Importance of Work-Life Balance”, The Happiness Index,

9. Bibby, Claire. “5 Ways You Can Take a Proper Break from Work over Christmas”, Women’s Agenda,

10. “Workers are Struggling to Disconnect During the Holidays. Here’s how Managers can Help”, Slack,

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