Struggling to switch off? You might need Bravo Beyers!

2017-12-21 06:30 - Anje Rautnebach
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Your vacation has started. Now what?

All of the sudden your daily responsibilities of an eight-to-five, computers, sitting in an office, reporting to a boss (or being the boss), seeing clients and being tired have shifted to sleeping in, reading, exploring, spending more time with loved ones and doing you fair share of nothing.

Heaven, right? Of course.

But for some, work is so integrated with their daily lives that going from office mode to holiday mode is not the easiest thing to do. And while the body might be on a beach somewhere, the mind is light years behind and slowly but surely on its way to join you on vacation.

And then there is an unfortunate reality lingering around that by the time you mind catches up with your body, your leave days are counted and your mind starts throwing pre-work tantrums about going back.

SEE: 2018 in Public Holidays: Do your leave planning like a pro 

Research conducted by a Finnish University has indicated that the ideal length for a holiday is eight days. They measured the highs and lows of the holidaymakers’ happiness and discovered that happiness peaked after eight days away.

Now imagine your mind takes two days before it joins you on vacation and the last two days of vacation it throws its I-don’t-want-to-go-back-to-work tantrums, then you’re left with something resembling a normal weekend with just a bit more breathing space on both ends.

That sucks and unless you take action, and decide to switch off as soon as possible and take your leave period by the horns, it will continue to suck until your next holiday.

But what do you?

Meet Bravo Beyers, the distraction George Leeson used to really switch off during his recent holiday.

George Leeson, a hair stylist from Johannesburg, posted the first photo on Facebook of the male doll with the caption, “Hi, my name is Bravo Beyers. I’m busy packing. Going to the beach for two weeks and I’m taking my dog. Will keep everyone up to date”.

SEE: How to put in for leave and not have your colleagues absolutely hate you

Over the course of two weeks Leeson continued with the photos and as the days passed by, the photos and activities Bravo Beyers got involved in, just got more and more creative.  Bravo took walks with his dog, Barker, on the beach, he went to the mall, hiked, explored and got brave and did bungee jumping and even rock climbing.

But that’s not all.

Bravo also made friends along the way with a few beautiful lady dolls; there was Nadia Notnagel who joined him for yoga and he had lunch with Anni Ackerman.

And of course, every doll – male and female – had a different outfit for every day and a different outfit for every activity thanks to doll dressmaker, Neil Smit, who also travelled with Leeson and the whole doll crew. You can view Smit’s wardrobe creations for dolls on Instagram at @neil.smit61 or search for Barbie Fourways on Facebook.

Leeson said that taking Bravo Beyers on vacation and taking photos of the doll has forced him to switch off, focus on his vacation and leave work where it’s supposed to be, at work.

How do you switch off?

Switching off has become more and more difficult over the years due to social media and being so easily reachable by phone, e-mail and messenger services.

But even before the days of social media switching off after a year’s work was also difficult back in the day. My father used to kick off our family vacations with a hiking trail; you sweat for a days with a backpack, bond with your family members over 2-minute noodles and by the time you reach the end of the trail you are completely relaxed, in a peaceful state of mind and, believe it not, energised.

SEE: Take a hike and kick-start your holiday

I’ve asked a few South Africans, whose work depend on an internet connection and often social media, to share how they switch off. Here’s what they had to say.

“It’s very hard to switch off even when on vacation but I definitely leave my laptop at home and all I allow myself to do is post on my social media (now THAT I can’t switch of) but blogs posts absolutely have to wait for when I’m back home.” - Lelo Boyana, presenter, influencer and creator of  

“I spend less time online, take in the beauty and positive energy of the place and focus on the present, ” - Karabo Mokgoko, brand influencer and one of the top 25 Twitter profiles in South Africa.

“My way to switch off is to put my phone on airplane mode for the day, ” Nicole Eddy, travel and adventure YouTuber, photographer and blogger at


“I'm really not good at switching off. The only thing that works for me it is to go somewhere with no internet and no cell phone signal -- fortunately there are still plenty of places like that in South Africa. Then I really have no choice, and I must admit the feeling is wonderful.”- Heather Mason, blogger and photographer at

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