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Stress of managing leisure time

By Nick Easen for CNN

Just getting to a vacation spot can be stressful for the anxious executive.
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(CNN) -- For those who are used to working round the clock and being in touch with the office at all times, taking time off to relax can be one of the hardest tasks.

Some executives believe that it is not practical to go on vacation and cut off from work completely, and the thought of returning to a backlog of problems is enough to ruin any vacation.

With the latest mobile gadgets and wireless connectivity business people can stay in touch with the office 24/7.

Therefore, it is now easier to solve small work problems at any given time and, executives argue, ensure that crises are less likely to occur on returning to the office.

"My father uses a PDA for his work (on holiday) and it is quite a bother," Ayla Iqbal from Karachi, Pakistan told CNN.

"I realize how the business world is moving fast and to keep up you must always be working. But I truly believe there are times when a person can take a break."

Experts say that executives need to spend as much time, effort and discipline trying to relax on vacation as they do for their jobs.

"Set aside set times when you do office work or phone calls, rather than letting the whole day go on where you are thinking -- I must ring the office," says Liz Tucker, a well-being consultant.

"Say to yourself, I will call the office at six every other day, and that is when you do it, so it is not going to dominate your whole holiday and you can get time to relax."

Exchanging the office for a beach also involves fully switching off before getting on that plane, believes Tucker -- this involves settling work issues in advance.

"Do a 'to do when I get back list.' You are then saying: 'I am going to deal with them. but first I am going on holiday,' -- this is really important," she says.

Tucker also believes that having a busy vacation schedule with specific activities is the best way to distract executive minds from worrying about work -- but, she stresses, nothing in excess.

"(On holiday) we tend to drink, overeat and not do a lot of exercise, or use a lot of energy, or use our brains at all," she says.

"So we are not thinking or doing anything constructive. These are actually really difficult ways for our body to relax."

Pleasure and satisfaction maybe the whole point of a vacation away from the office, but some people experience guilt when they are away from the office.

"A lot of people feel that relaxation is an indulgence, particularly women, (but) taking time out to relax is really important," says Tucker.

"If you have a really busy and stimulating stressful life, the only way that you can keep that going is through relaxation. That is the whole reason why we have to sleep every night."

CNN's Leonie Lakhani contributed to this report

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