As your holiday draws nearer do your stress levels go up?


Research commissioned by Lloyds TSB revealed 8 out of 10 people suffer from pre-holiday stress which lingers long after departure and even affects the holiday. The study revealed that 83% of those surveyed become severely stressed in the run up to a holiday. Just over a quarter suffer physical symptoms and spend the first two days recovering.

For many of us we want to leave everything in the best possible state before leaving. Some of us even stay awake at night thinking of all the things we need to do and possibly all the things that could go wrong.

As the holiday draws nearer and the to-do lists grow disproportionately a large majority of us start to feel out of control possibly bringing on some impatient, cranky behaviour.

Preparing for a holiday should be a positive stress after all the outcome is great! How do we stop this stress from becoming the negative kind?

“Consider controlling what you can and letting go of what you can’t.”


Keeping everything in your head will certainly keep you awake at night. Scurrying around with post it notes and last minute instructions may be your style but something to try…. Make yourself a checklist particularly if you are trying to close off a few projects. Now prioritise the tasks into what has to be complete today/before you go away and tasks that can await your return. Assign some time estimates so that you can keep it realistic.  Create a separate check list for your personal objectives and follow the same principles.


Don’t be a martyr! There’s a good chance you could be delegating more. Take a look at your check list and enlist the help of co-workers. Sharing responsibility leading up to your departure and while you are away highlights excellent teamwork. At home, involve friends and family with your personal preparation plans. Involving your children not only gives them a sense of responsibility but it adds to their excitement too.

Manage Expectations:

What are your holiday expectations? If you’re envisaging a scene out of a holiday brochure or perhaps you’ve been scrutinizing the highlight reel of friends social media you could be in for disappointment. Remind yourself life isn’t perfect, embrace any holiday imperfections and keep it real. You cannot possibly control all the outcomes but what you can control is how you react to them.

“A vacation is having nothing to do and all day to do it in.” ~Robert Orben

Phew … you made it!

Paradise destination and time to unwind. Your ego may not want to hear this but actually in your absence from work, your team will survive without you. This is not to say they don’t need you, however there’s no harm in giving the emails a break. (company policy providing) If the feelings of stress are still lingering take some time out to do something as simple as deep breathing – one of the quickest and effective ways to calm the stress response.

Someone pointed out to me recently how frenetic life is – how we are always on the go and never still. Here’s your chance …. take some time to be still and enjoy.

Happy Holidays!

Stay Well,

Leigh McKay