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The Lonely Planet

Take A Break – before you break


Stress is a killer, needless stress is just plain pointless so why put yourself through it? The people at Lonely Planet have produced a book to inspire you to take stock and re-evaluate the time you have to yourself every year.

The UK’s workforce is one of the most overstretched and burnt-out in Europe, working longer hours than almost all our European contemporaries. Eight out of ten Britons works longer hours than necessary and six out of ten don’t take their full holiday entitlement. Of those that do take time off, half of all workers still worry about work whilst on holiday and a shocking one in ten fears redundancy whilst on leave. In response, Lonely Planet is publishing a new book, 132: Seize the Days, to help stressed-out Britons make the most of their time. “Most people are surprised when we tell them they have almost a third of the year to themselves, with a total of 132 non-work days,” says Lonely Planet’s Tom Hall.

“In our research, we’ve found that many of the 29 million British employees don’t take all their annual leave and others don’t make the most of their time off. “ Tom goes on to say, “Is it any wonder most of us feel stressed and exhausted? Most of us are too busy to think about ways to get the most out of our lives. Even something as simple as taking a lunch break has slipped off the agenda – if you took an hour for lunch every work day you’d have the equivalent of an extra 10 days for yourself. Makes you think twice about eating at your desk.”

If the work-life scales tip seriously out of balance due to long work hours and few holidays, it can lead to a serious increase in stress levels. One in five people now suffer from work-related stress, which is now the biggest cause of time off work according to BUPA, 270,000 people take time off because of it every day. Work-related stress is one of the major causes of a rapidly growing phenomenon known as burnout – a condition whereby previously motivated, productive people suffer from emotional, physical and mental exhaustion.

It takes 21 days to break a habit or establish a new one, so making a small change every day for the next three weeks will set you well on the way to a new approach to your free time.

Here’s how your 132 days of leisure time work out:

Weekends: 2 days x 52 weeks = 104 days

Bank holidays: New Year

Good Friday

Easter Monday

May Day

Spring Bank Holiday

August Bank Holiday

Christmas Day

Boxing Day = 8 days

Statutory annual paid leave: = 20 days


Here’s what’s already been done in less than 132 days….

0.34 day Pemba Dorje Sherpa climbed the south side of Everest, from Base Camp to summit, 8 hours and 10 minutes on 21 May 2004 – the fastest ascent of

the world’s tallest mountain.

7.37 days In May 2006 magician David Blaine remained submerged in a saltwater bubble outside New York’s Lincoln Centre for a record 177 hours.

39.83 days in 1991 it took Mohammed Salahuddin Choudhury of Calcutta and his wife Neena 39 days and 20 hours to travel all the way around the globe by car (24,901 road miles) in the fastest time ever.

65 days Bob Timm and John Cook made what remains the longest ever continuous flight in 1958, flying a distance comparable to 6 times round the world in 65 days without landing even once.

99 days Japanese adventurer Mitsuro Ohba walked, skied and parasailed a total of 2376 miles in the longest ever solo Antarctic walk in 1998

…and here’s what you could do.

0.13 days Run the London Marathon in 3 hours.

14 days Circumnavigate the globe by hot air balloon.

21 days Drive the charity Plymouth-Banjul challenge in a car worth less than £100.

54 days Cross the Sahara by camel.

65 days Cross the Atlantic by sailing ship.

90 days Take the annual three-month Buddhist Rains Retreat in Thailand.

100 days Write a novel.

120 days Walk from John O’Groats to Land’s End.

132 days Traverse the USA, from east to west coast, by bicycle.

We have ten copies to give away just answer this question:

How many days personal leisure time do we have each year?

For competition rules see page XX