Let’s be honest: it isn’t very often that you get to take a real vacation. It doesn’t matter if you’re heading to the beach or taking a day trip or you’re just planning on staying home and doing things around the house. The important thing is, you aren’t going to be doing work, and this is great news for your mental and physical health.
Since you’re taking time off work, whatever your reason, it’s important that you do all you can to enjoy it. You don’t want to end up doing work when you were supposed to be relaxing.
1. Delegate responsibilities before you go
Even when we’re not the biggest fan of the jobs we do or our workplace in general, it can still be anxiety-inducing when you are planning on leaving work temporarily to go on vacation and realize you’re going to have more work than you will be able to handle when you return.
That’s not the best way to start a vacation. Instead, you are going to be much better off delegating. Give important tasks away to others before you begin your vacation so you won’t worry about deadlines while you are supposed to be relaxing. Whether you want to trust someone else to do your work or not, you are not going to be able to fully enjoy your vacation with things hanging over your head.
Choose someone who is qualified and willing to do the work, give clear instructions and let them know you won’t be checking in until you get back to work (and follow through with that promise, too). Activate that auto response email and log out. Take a deep breath. Exhale.
2. Only use your computer and phone when absolutely necessary
Another thing you really don’t want to deal with on vacation is the temptation to check in at work, either via email or text or phone call. A little temptation will be there in the beginning, but it’s important to do all you can to resist the urge. You can make this easier on yourself by using your phone and computer as little as possible.
Try your best to unplug. You don’t really need to use that phone, computer or tablet as much as you think you do. Things like social media and keeping in constant communication with people electronically can wait. Take this opportunity to enjoy your time away from tech.
You might be surprised how good unplugging might actually make you feel. That “fear of missing out” we feel when we’re constantly checking up on the news and other current events goes away pretty quickly when we ditch the technology. You don’t have to give it up forever. Just try it. It’s not going to hurt you.
3. Don’t continue any part of your normal routine
Do you normally wake up at the same time every day? Eat the same thing for breakfast each morning, even on weekends? Watch the same shows at the same times in the evenings? Routine is great and all, but not when you’re trying to relax. That’s right: it’s time to do something different.
Having your mind and body follow the same routine during your vacation as you normally would while working won’t do much to help you relax. You’ll be much more tempted to continue following the same routine, which could involve things like checking email and other messages.
Do it differently while you’re taking time off work. Sleep in. Make yourself or your family a huge homemade brunch. Go out to eat at a restaurant with friends, if this isn’t something you normally do. Stay in your pajamas all day. It doesn’t matter what you do. Just do something new. And don’t worry about having to readjust later when it’s time to get back to work. It’s much easier than you think.
4. Do something you are truly going to enjoy
If you are going to take time off from doing work, take time off from doing work. You may still have some responsibilities at home or wherever you might be heading if you’re leaving home, but the last thing you want to do is spend your time off feeling absolutely miserable.
Your vacation should be meaningful and memorable. It isn’t just time you spend away from work. It’s time you can spend doing whatever you want. That being said, a vacation shouldn’t be too strictly planned out (unless you like that sort of thing). Focus on relaxing, and doing things you are really going to enjoy.
There are no rules when it comes to taking time off of work, whether it’s for a day or for a week. A vacation can be anything you want it to be. If you want to stay in bed and binge-watch shows on Netflix all day, do it. As long as you enjoy it and it makes you feel completely relaxed and guilt-free, it counts. Just stay away from anything and everything related to work.
Regardless of what you do or don’t plan on doing during your time off, do what you can to make the absolute most of it. Go out of your way to enjoy yourself, but don’t let yourself stress about it.
Don’t worry about what might happen when you get back. Leave your computer turned off and put away, if you can. Dare to break away from your normal everyday routine and make sure you do plenty of activities that you are going to enjoy. Vacation time should be about you, or you and your family. It isn’t about work or goals or your career, for once. It’s about rest, so you can return to work ready to do amazing things again.