Originally written for www.stuff.co.nz, published 10 July 2018

At this time of year, it can be hard to feel motivated and focused. It’s cold, dark and the next public holiday is months away. We’d all like to escape to somewhere warm and sunny to rejuvenate but that’s not always possible because of time, flexibility or finances.

Although a few weeks overseas is always a good thing, holidays don’t need to be big to have an impact on your health and happiness. Sometimes a micro vacation could be just what you need.

The idea of a micro vacation has lots going for it – less planning, less expensive and less work to delegate, and it gives you time to take a breath and recharge.

Taking an extended weekend gives you the chance for a short getaway but even one well spent day off from your normal routine could have you coming back more productive and focused, perhaps with a new perspective on your work habits and feeling less stressed and better equipped to manage work and life.

Whether it’s a 1-day break or a 3-day weekend, to get that ‘I’ve just come back from a holiday feeling’ here’s what you need to do:

Unplug from social media and go offline. One of your main forms of relaxing may watching Netflix but the purpose of a holiday, for any length of time, is to get away from daily life and normal routines. This is a chance to do something out of the ordinary, so give up the internet, look for ways to reconnect with yourself and feel like you’ve had a real holiday.

Plan your break. Some of us prefer holidays where we do something, and some prefer holidays where we do nothing. It’s important to know which one you are.

If you’re an active relaxer, plan some activities. Choose something you’ve always wanted to do but never have, that you enjoy and can look forward to. Walk a track you’ve never walked or go to that exhibition you’ve been meaning to see. Make the most of your surrounding area especially if you’ve taken a long weekend away from home.

If you’re the type that wants to relax completely, that doesn’t give you the excuse to blob out in front of Netflix. Plan a relaxing day with a good book, get a massage or facial or go to a new cafe for coffee. Focus on the relaxing things that help to build up your energy.

Treat yourself. When we’re on holiday we do things that are not normally part of our routine so plan these into your micro break. It might be as simple as going out for dinner out or date night or going to a show.

Make sure you’re doing the stuff you want to do, not what you think you should do. When we let go of the things we ‘should’ do we let go of the stresses of normal life.  Save those ‘shoulds’ for another day and enjoy yourself. If you want to feel like you’ve had a break from life, leave those household chores and that cupboard you’ve been meaning to clean and make the most of your time off.