Holiday stress

A new report reveals that going on summer holiday may be more stressful than working. The study, by the UK’s Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM), asked 2,500 of its members about attitudes towards long summer breaks. It found forty per cent of managers do not come back from a holiday feeling relaxed. A worrying finding was that many workers came back from a holiday more stressed than when they left. Many in lower- and upper-management positions actually work while they are on vacation. The researchers discovered that 80 per cent of those surveyed answer work-related e-mails, around 50 per cent make and take business-related phone calls and 10 per cent go into the office. Over 90 per cent of managers worried about returning to hundreds of e-mails.

Information technology and the weakened global economy are the main causes of managers being unable to de-stress while on holiday. Penny de Valk, chief executive of the ILM, said: „Gone are the days when people cut off contact with work for a fortnight over the summer and made a complete break. While technology means that it is easier than ever to work remotely, it also makes it extremely hard to switch off. Uncertain economic times also mean that many UK employees are keeping one eye on their job at all times, when what they really need is time away from the office to rest and re-energise.” The study also revealed that on average, it takes two days and seventeen hours into a holiday to totally unwind. Ten per cent of managers said it took them up to a week to fully get into holiday mode.


Exercise 1

Match these Polish expressions to their English equivalents:

1. badanie
2. odkrycie
3. ankietowany
4. osłabiony
5. dwa tygodnie
6. średnio

  • finding
  • fortnight
  • on average
  • study
  • surveyed
  • weakened

Exercise 2

Complete these expressions with the missing verbs from the box:
answer / cut / feel / go / keep / make / take / work

1. to _________ on summer holiday
2. to _________ relaxed
3. to _________ emails
4. to _________/_________ phone calls
5. to _________ off contact
6. to _________ a complete break
7. to _________ remotely
8. to _________ one eye on the job


Exercsie 3

Say it in English using expressions from the previous exercises:

1. Gdy jestem na wakacjach nie odbieram połączeń służbowych.
________________________________________ business-related ______________.
2. Czasem pracuję zdalnie i odpowiadam na maile.
Sometimes ___________________________________________________________.
3. Rzadko robię sobie całkowitą przerwę i dlatego nie czuję się zrelaksowany.
I rarely __________________________________ and that’s why ______________________.



I know English idioms!

In this lesson’s reading text we find out that going on holiday may be more stressful than staying at work. Summer holidays are just one kind of holidays people have. There can be study holidays, public holidays or bank holidays! The last ones are particularly interesting as a bank holiday is an official holiday when banks and most businesses are closed for a day.


Phrasals, phrasals…

As we can learn from our text, when we go on holiday it would be good to cut off contact with the office and, most of all, switch off completely for some time! Easy to say… And as we are not on holiday right now, let’s study these two phrasal verbs:

If this bill is not paid within five days, your gas supply will be cut off. (= Odetną gaz…)
When he gets bored, he just switches off and looks out the window. (= Wyłącza się…)

And you, can YOU switch off completely on holiday, or at least do you cut off contact with the office? 


Grammar corner

(…) forty per cent of managers do not come back from a holiday feeling relaxed. We read in the text. But what is important from the grammar perspective is what verb the sentence uses: do not – in the plural form. This is because in English when we say “forty per cent of managers” the group of people is important and not the figure!



report – raport
to reveal – ujawniać
stressful – stresujący
study – studium, badanie
leadership – przywództwo
management – zarządzanie
member – członek
attitude – nastawienie
worrying – niepokojący
finding – odkrycie
researcher – badacz
to discover – odkryć
surveyed – ankietowany
weakened – osłabiony
economy – gospodarka
causa – przyczyna
unable – niezdolny
to de-stress – odstresować się
chief executive – dyrektor generalny
to cut off – odcinać
fortnight – dwa tygodnie
remotely – zdalnie, na odległość
to switch off – wyłączyć (się)
uncertain – niepewny
to keep one eye on – mieć baczenie na
time away from – czas z dala od
to rest – odpocząć
to re-enerigize – doładować (się)
on average – średnio
to unwind – zrelaksowac się
mode – tryb


download lesson (pdf)



1. badanie
2. odkrycie
3. ankietowany
4. osłabiony
5. dwa tygodnie
6. średnio
on average

1. to go on summer holiday
2. to feel relaxed
3. to answer emails
4. to make/take phone calls
5. to cut off contact
6. to make a complete break
7. to work remotely
8. to keep one eye on the job

1. When I’m on holiday I don’t take business-related phone calls
2. Sometimes I work remotely and answer emails.
3. I rarely make a complete break and that’s why I don’t feel relaxed.