Between the early-morning flight, the daily activities you’ve scheduled from morning until night and the laptop/tablet/mobile you refuse to put down, the vacation you’ve planned to get away from it all is suddenly threatening to become more work than your actual job. The good news? It doesn’t have to be that way. If you’re going on vacation to relax and recharge, follow these tips to do just that.
Set a few boundaries
You’re taking time away from work to focus on the family, your significant other, or just to enjoy some solo time- so do it. Make a conscious decision to leave work at work. Maybe you leave your laptop at home. Maybe you keep your phone in the hotel room and limit usage to thirty minutes in the evenings. Whatever you decide, stick to it. And be clear – this part is much easier if you plan, organize, schedule and delegate well before you take off. Meet with supervisors or co-workers about a month ahead of your departure to start planning how things will be handled in your absence. That will free you up to really enjoy your time away without worrying about what isn’t getting done back at the office.
Build in a buffer
If you’re a workaholic like many, it can be really difficult to switch instantly from work mode to vacation mode. You can help yourself ease into your vacation by building in a buffer. Instead of working until the moment your plane leaves – frantically sending last-minute emails and texts – try to schedule an extra day of vacation before departure. You can tie up any loose ends, finish packing, get a decent night’s sleep, and then start your vacation secure in the knowledge that things will be fine in your absence.
If you can swing it, do the same thing at the end of your holiday. Don’t go straight from relaxing beach days to an ominously full inbox and a desk groaning beneath a mountain of paperwork. Ease into things with a day between arriving home and heading to work. It’ll give you time to unpack and get organized on the home front before you tackle things at the office.
Don’t put so much pressure on yourself
When we go on vacation just once or twice a year, we build up those precious weeks to something that may not even be possible. Don’t make your vacation a list of destinations or activities or social media moments to be captured, and don’t stress about seeing or doing it all. Instead, take each moment as it comes. Be present, and try to savor the mere fact that you’re on holiday, with loved ones, or that you have nothing more pressing to attend to than your next meal.
Remember – there’s no need to approach your vacation the way you do your career. Go crazy and skip the schedule altogether. If you can’t bear the thought of being spontaneous, try planning just one activity a day. The focus should be on slowing down, not rushing to fit everything in.
Be clear on what you want from your vacation
By definition, a vacation is a much-needed break from the stress of your daily life. But how you choose to relax and recharge is entirely up to you. If your idea of a great vacation is skiing all day, hiking part of the Appalachian Trail or laying by the pool for your entire stay, then don’t let an article on the internet – or anywhere else – tell you you’re doing it wrong.