Free the "Battery Worker" - Escaping the Rat Race with Keycamp

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With a new survey from self catering specialist Keycamp revealing that Britain is turning into a nation of 'battery workers', with 70% of workers feeling stressed and almost half feeling compelled to work more than nine to five, holidays have never been as important.

The long-hours culture is having a real negative impact on leisure time and after giving so much to our employers during the rest of the year, we need to work hard to reclaim our holidays and make sure we're booking a break that will provide us with the right level of stimulation and encourage the family to interact more together.

With a new survey from self catering holiday specialist Keycamp revealing that Britain is turning into a nation of 'battery workers', with 70% of workers feeling stressed and almost half feeling compelled to work more than nine to five, relaxing holidays have never been as important.

The poll, of over 1,300 adults, shows that 1 in 10 Brits feel like they're constantly in work mode and are spending more hours than ever before cooped up behind their desks and seeing less of their families. And little wonder, almost half now work more than the average nine to five, with some clocking up over 56 hours on a regular basis. Worse still, 1 in 20 parents even admit to not seeing their children at all during the working week because the kids are in bed when they're leaving and arriving home.

According to the survey, 25% confess that their holiday is the only time of year they feel relaxed and Keycamp is warning against the potential of 'lost' holidays, when stressed workers fail to make the necessary transition between busy work mode and the freedom of time off.

The poll reveals 1 in 5 admit to finding it difficult to adjust to the change in routine that a break brings, with up to 45% more likely to suffer from minor aches and ailments in the first few days of a holiday before it properly 'kicks in' and even over a weekend, when workers take their foot off the pedal. These reports of 'leisure sickness' are particularly high given that just 3% of our Dutch counterparts suffer similar side effects. (see editors notes for further details)*

The family holiday can also be compromised by parents who feel compelled to think about work while away. 15% have to interrupt their holiday to respond to at least one call from the office, while 6% insist on packing the laptop to check on work emails and 1 in 20 keep up to date on office antics by sneaking crafty looks at their Blackberry.

Dave McKenna, head of sales and marketing at Keycamp, comments: "Never has the phrase 'work hard, play hard' had more resonance. Brits are working longer hours than ever before and need to make sure that they're getting the most from their time off.

"Last year we seemed to be inundated with calls and emails very early in the January as people got back to work. It has to be an important factor for the 'battery worker', to land a great holiday so early, plus it gives them something to look forward to and enough time to find some great activities to do while they're away."

Leading psychologist Mo Shapiro adds: "The long-hours culture is having a real negative impact on leisure time and after giving so much to our employers during the rest of the year, we need to work hard to reclaim our holidays and make sure we're booking a break that will provide us with the right level of stimulation and encourage the family to interact more together."
Offering complete freedom from routine and some great opportunities for the family to have fun together, Keycamp's 'free range' holidays provide the perfect antidote to 'battery worker syndrome'.

Sandra Johnson, a full time working mum with two boys aged 10 and 13 says she finds it hard to switch off on holiday: "There is so much to do at work before I go on holiday, let alone pack and prepare for the time away, that it does take me a couple of days to settle into a more relaxed pace.

"We have been on a Keycamp holiday many times and almost the minute we arrive my shoulders drop. As a family we start to explore our surroundings and make plans for what we'll do for the following few days. As it's in a natural setting - in woodland or near a beach, this is part of the relaxation. We all then head for the pool complex for a well earned splash that has us laughing within minutes - what a great way to unwind!"

Keycamp offers access to over a hundred of the finest holiday parks across nine European countries and the USA, all boasting stylish mobile homes, chalet, tent and apartment accommodation. A selection of magical tree houses, plus motorhomes in both Europe and the USA are also available.

Each parc provides a host of facilities including swimming pool complexes and activities such as cycling, football and even treetop adventure courses, golf and quad biking at selected parcs. Many parcs also offer Keycamp's Fun Station children's clubs, which give mum and dad a break and encourage kids to make friends.

Want to escape the rat race? Then why not opt for a week at Saint Avit Loisirs at Le Bugue in the Dordogne, where first rate facilities set in glorious rolling countryside, with the rivers Dordogne and Vezere only minutes away, will melt work worries away.

For the kids, and parents brave enough to give it a whirl, there's the fabulous Action Station - which allows dare devils to try zip wiring, trapeze, abseiling, climbing and archery. There's also a superb swimming pool complex, complete with waterchute and jacuzzi, plus quad biking, mini golf, crazy golf, bike hire and badminton.

To help you make the most of that valuable holiday time and help escape that busy-busy work mode mentality, Keycamp has teamed up with leading psychologist and broadcaster Mo Shapiro to give you ten top tips on having a fully switched-off holiday.

1.    Clarify what you can and can't do before leaving work and write a 'back from hols' list. Then let go.

2.    Leave the Blackberry at home or if you really do need to check in on work - allot yourself an hour everyday where you will respond to emails and queries. For the rest of the time, switch it and you off! If you find yourself thinking about work outside the allotted hour, interrupt the thought by clapping your hands or pinching yourself and putting your focus back onto whatever is happening NOW in the holiday.

3.    You know how to prioritise and separate different projects at work, use these skills to prioritise you and the family and put work to one side.

4.    Have some way of distinguishing between work and holiday mode - different clothes, different shoes - something that tells you are on holiday now. Create a holiday travel outfit that helps put you in the holiday mood as soon as you leave the house.

5.    Explore your new location as soon as you can. Challenging each other to find the best beach, craziest shop front or whatever criteria you and the family choose.

6.    Every day make sure you have a long, leisurely meal, cooked in or out, and take it in turns to shop for and cook it.

7.    Lack of stimulation can create an environment in which you can become 'bored sick'. So create activities to keep you interested and curious about your holiday destination. And tempting as it may be, don't flop onto a lounger as soon as you arrive - instead break yourself into the holiday gently - taking a gentle swim or a leisurely bike ride.

8.    Find things to make you laugh - it's a great way to unwind and creates endorphins which make you feel better. Maybe even have a prize each day for the funniest story, best painting or best poem about the day / holiday.

9.    Think about what you want from the holiday - then ask each member of the family and let everyone have what they want on one day while the rest of you fit in. Pre plan activities before you travel and enjoy anticipating the fun as you do so.

10.    Tell yourself that this holiday is much needed rest and recovery time. Time to recharge your batteries and keep you fit. At work you may well be running on high pressure, so you need renewal time to prepare you for next challenge.

A seven night break during May half term for a family of two adults and up to five children staying in a Supernova mobile home will cost from £496.50, including return Dover-Calais ferry crossings. The price also includes a 10% Early Booking Offer, which is available on breaks booked before 20 January.

To book call Keycamp on 0844 406 0319 or visit http://www.keycamp.co.uk, where you can also find Mo Shapiro's hints and tips on achieving a 'free range' holiday.

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Barry Cooke
Keycamp
01606 787169
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