An intensely exceptional spring at the workplace behind us – the occupational psychologist’s tips for recovering during the summer holiday

The COVID-19 pandemic is still prevailing and the summer holiday season is approaching in the midst of uncertainties. How can one start the summer holiday, after an intensive remote work period or working at the workplace under the strict COVID-19 restrictions, with peace of mind? Mehiläinen’s Occupational Psychologist Sari Valavuori gives tips for a rejuvenating summer holiday.


Adjust the intensity of your working day – structure your day, take breaks, recover

The remote work period has intensified working when lunch breaks, transfers and encounters at the coffee machine are no longer part of the working day. The daily programme consisting of one meeting after another is challenging for the brain, as there might be no time for recovery during the working day. The holiday may begin with highly stressful feelings. You can affect your holiday condition by focusing on your own working methods: have a good lunch break, walk to “work” around your own yard, take coffee breaks and take deep breaths and pauses... Even a three-minute recovery break refreshes your body and mind.

Organise your workstation for the holiday

You can prepare yourself for the holiday by taking small everyday actions which will help you keep the approaching holiday in your mind. For example, change your password to a descriptive text, such as “Hammock calling”. You could also leave a message in your working space from your working self to your holiday self about how you will feel when you return from the holiday. Or organise a part of your work space or wardrobe for the holiday or your return from the holiday.

Take control over your to do list

It’s typical that your to do list expands toward the Midsummer. We want everything to be ready before the holiday. Stop and think about the overall picture: what should be done before the holiday so that you can start your holiday with peace of mind? What is enough? What could be left until after the holiday?

Identify your own resources and plan your holiday accordingly

When the holiday is around the corner, you should explore your own resources and plan the holiday according to them. For which things do I have enough resources, what do I want and need to do in the summer? What is important in the holiday and what could be left out? Try to come up with three things that you want to do so that you can say that your holiday was a success. A family meeting about the holiday hopes and the possibilities to realise them could be arranged.


Do not overschedule your summer days – balance interesting activities with doing nothing

In the summer, it’s important to recover from the stressful work period, take a break, rest and do something totally different. This requires that you do not overschedule your days. The best holiday is a combination of rest and meaningful action, which balances the brainwork.

Avoid holiday obligations

A stressed mind might think that major experiences are needed for the recovery. However, it’s quite the contrary: the best way to counterbalance a demanding work period is engaging in simple, meaningful things. Focus on things that you enjoy and make sure that you do not perform obligations in the same way as at work.

Identify what puts you in a good mood – stop and think about it

Think about the things that put you in a good mood and relax you and cherish these sources of joy – indulge in them. Sometimes just wandering around is what you need. Stop and listen to yourself in the moment; how do I feel, what is this scent? Are there thoughts that you haven’t had time to think over and now it’s time? Be easy on yourself and allow yourself leisurely pondering. Seek for experiences and the feeling of self-understanding.

Guide your mind to possibilities in the midst of all these restrictions

The COVID-19 pandemic sets limits on our summer plans and may even prevent traditional trips abroad, festivals and summer parties. This may create feelings of disappointment. It’s not worth dwelling on the cancelled plans, instead you should guide your mind to possibilities and certainties. Reinforce your sense of security by concentrating on stability during this pandemic.


Focus on this day – it creates the foundation for the future

Although vaccinations are progressing well in Finland, it is still uncertain what working life will look like when we return from our holidays. During these uncertain times, we should concentrate on this moment: what is the best way for me to recover and support my mental well-being at this very moment? Minor moments that strengthen your resources will soften the blows which the future may bring.

Use summer joys to boost your sensory memory

Look back to the summer joys and meaningful moments. Recall the three things that you wanted to realise during your holiday. Maybe the moment in the yard swing reading a good book on a summer morning was the moment that you will remember in the autumn as a sign of a successful holiday.

Have a resourceful summer!

Text written by Mehiläinen’s Occupational Psychologist Sari Valavuori.