I’ve learned to block off vacation weeks in my calendar. I know when I don’t put those chunks in first, they get squashed—because there is always plenty to do.
Because I consciously schedule my time off, I thought I could check the box “vacation covered.”
I make sure that (ideally) every six weeks I have at least one week off. And I felt pretty good about that. Some clients jokingly call me the queen of self-care. And I thought “Yep, that’s me.”
Until earlier this year…
I had planned my first week off since my end-of-year break. I was looking forward to relax, read, catch up with some friends, catch up on a few things in the house.
During that week I made my garden spring-ready. I did some chores in the house that I don’t get to during a normal workweek. And I ran a load of other errands I can’t even remember.
The point being: I was busy with a lot of things during my so-called staycation.
After that week I didn’t feel as rested as I should have. Sure, I slept in longer and my days weren’t as full as a regular workday but it was a far cry from vacation.
Suddenly I realized I had spent the majority of that week catching up on a lot of things in my life and home. There’s nothing wrong with that—in fact it was very much needed—but the problem was that I called it a vacation!
Thanks to that not so restful week I realized I should distinguish between ‘catch-up’ weeks and true vacation.
It might seem like a small difference but the impact on your well-being is huge. Pretending you’ve had vacation while in fact you simply did a different kind of work, means you won’t rest and recharge like you need to.
So from now on I’m scheduling both catch-up weeks and vacation weeks 😉
It’s much clearer and very much needed when you stay home during your time off.
When you go away for vacation you ‘only’ need to worry about not checking your email. And I know for some people even that is a tall order.
Here are some practical tips I’ve found helpful to make the most of your vacation:
- Delete your email from your phone so it won’t be easy to check. This will also save you from checking your email out of habit (without consciously deciding to take a peek.)
- Turn on your out-of-office and trust people will know how to get a hold of you in case of a real emergency.
- Make sure that the last day before your vacation and your first day back in the office are free from meetings. This makes a huge difference in starting and ending your vacation with less stress.
- Inform your clients and colleagues timely so they can get what they need from you. (Be sure to pretend you’re not working that last meeting-free day 😉
- Don’t schedule any promotions (or important projects) during your time away from the office. Because if you do, you’ll likely feel the need to check if all is going well or you’ll come up with new ideas to add or execute. I’ve made this mistake several years on a row. Thinking that if I pre-scheduled all the emails, the launch could go on autopilot. The problem is that having something important going on in your business or job makes it harder to power down your mind—which is one of the most needed things during a vacation!
These tips are simple yet very effective and I highly recommend you implement them if you’re not already doing this. Doing so will help ensure you return relaxed and full of energy 🙂
What is your best tip to ensure a relaxing vacation? I’d love to hear it!
Wishing you a wonderfilled time off—whether it’s during the summer or later this year 🙂
Poisoned Arrow (YA Fantasy novel)