So there you are. Doctor Who. Gin in hand. Christmas Day. Presents opened. Stress over. Bank account emptied. A week off to look forward to, the only activities consisting of you passed out on the sofa watching Garfield II on ITV and The Snowman on Channel 4 (bar the last ten minutes as you hate the bit when he melts, it’s such a letdown), your only responsibilities consisting of doing the least amount of washing up after Christmas Dinner as physically possible (without anyone noticing) as well as being subtly yet mindblowingly drunk in front of all of your relatives.

But then the fear sets in. The fear of returning to work. You try to concentrate on the terrible CGI graphics on Cat vs. Dogs or whether the acts are miming or not during Top of the Pops Christmas Special, but your mind keeps wondering back to it. What will the first day back be like? When do I have to get that report done by? When will those expenses come through? Why is our yearly conference on the fourth of January in Dorking? DORKING? Will our department hit our financial targets? Is there going to be some layoffs at the end of January? Why is Tim in accounts such an arsehole?

It’s natural. You’ve just spent a considerable amount of effort trying to get this job in the first place, you’ve spent weeks trying to make a good impression, you’ve cranked out work even at times when you have been severely hungover (or just drunk) so your boss can give you his or her stamp of approval and now you’ve gone from a colossal Titanic iceberg Justin Bieber fanbase sized amount of work to absolutely nothing, so quickly your mind can’t flick the switch from work to play. It’s that, or you still have some work you still need to do. A study by Medicash says that 73% of us are worried about having to do work during the Christmas break. Work? During Christmas? Christ.

So how can you escape that horrible I have to go back to work soon and I might as well face that my life is over feeling? Well here’s some tips about how you can cut yourself out from the world of work:

Out of Office – There is no better feeling in the world, nothing whatsoever, than writing an Out of Office. It’s a bit like the finding a ten pound note at the back of your trousers, pulling somebody who you find really attractive in a nightclub or shoving your face into a kebab when you’re on a night-bus home not giving an actual toss about what you look like to other passengers. It is effectively the best excuse of getting out or thinking about work, because it is one.

Keep your Out of Office as short and as sweet as physically possible. If you leave something like “Oh I will be checking my emails from time to time’” that gives the impression that you will respond to somebody within a few hours. If you say “I will look at my email upon my return” it gives the idea that the person actually cares about the holiday email you have just received. If you put your Out of Office in block capital letters shouting the words “BYE” or “F.U.” then there’ll be NOTHING to check and NOTHING to worry about.

Your mobile phone – You probably have a work phone, or at least your work emails integrated with your smart phone. Unless you have a Nokia 3310 with Snake II on it, in which case I am insanely jealous I love Snake II. 

Anyway, regardless of how you get your workplace emails and phonecalls – deactivate your phone. Just for a week or so. Just so you don’t constantly refresh every five minutes whilst under the duvet watching T4 or decide to preoccupy your time by going through every work based email in your account to see if you have missed something important.

Of course you don’t have to deactivate your phone if, like me, you are heading to the countryside during this Christmas break. Why? There’s no chance of having any phone signal. I can’t getting any 3G signal unless I am standing on my parents’ bathroom toilet. Not exaggerating.

Go abroad – Distance yourself away from thinking about work by telling colleagues that you can’t, as you’re on holiday. Of course you might not have a choice with going on holiday because a. you will have to go and spend a week at your parents so you can’t go abroad b. you have absolutely no money, but telling your colleagues that it is impossible for you to do any work or get in contact is a big big help in cutting yourself off from work or thinking about it. Just lie. “I’m going to Dorset for Christmas? Oh no I’m not, Sharon. I’m heading to this little unknown villa called Dorsetario in the outer fringes of North Western Spain for two weeks. You must have misheard me.” If you don’t like lying (dear employers who may be reading this, I NEVER LIE) just exaggerate heavily. If you are off to the Isle of Wight, just say you are off to Ibiza. Both are islands. Both have a ferry terminal and a KFC. They’re practically the same thing.

Ignore all conversation – Finally, it is highly likely that friends and family will ask you a lot about work during the Christmas holidays and whether you are still enjoying your job. Or, despite the fact that you have been employed for a year, they still don’t know what you do, so they persist to ask you everything about it whilst everyone is passing the roast potatoes around the kitchen table.

So just do this…. 

*puts fingers in ears* “LAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALALLALAAAAAALALALALAAAA”

All is well.