When I worked at the cancer center, taking time off work was more pain than joy. Days before leaving, I spent extra hours clearing my calendar and wrapping up loose ends. I finally realized it didn’t matter if the pile was there or not. When I returned from break, a pile of work awaited. With a big sigh and a goodbye to rest and relaxation, I settled back into crazy.
Does this sound familiar? We are not alone. According to a recent government study, Americans on average give up 206 million vacation days. Whoa! This is a BIG number. What's going on?
Is it possible to prioritize fun instead of prioritizing stressful projects? Try these five tips for making vacations memorable and worth the effort:
Put it on the calendar. I cannot overstate this action. If it’s on the books, it will happen. You have something wonderful to look forward to. You save money and get excited. You can go to sleep with a mental picture of white sandy beaches instead of what Mr. Know-It-All did at the meeting.
Make every step self-care. If you are anxious around job security, appearances of non-productivity and fear of missing out then a vacation may be the escape you need to reset your happy buttons. From planning to shopping and packing, build excitement to fuel your work-filled days leading to vacation time. Include calm-inducing activities like walks in nature and swinging in a hammock with a book.
Focus on play. The call for easy is what our mental and emotional self needs on a regular basis. We need to shift from overbooked calendars to a simple schedule focused on playtime. What do you dream about doing when you’re on vacation?
Unplug, literally. Digital devices and posting awesome vacation photos can wait until we get home. If necessary designate a few minutes a day to check messages. Don't worry about posting photos and stories in the moment. Family and friends will enjoy your photos after vacation.
Create a re-entry plan. If possible work a half day after vacation before resuming your regular schedule. Start off easy and light. Bring a souvenir or printed photo of your time out for your space. Address priority issues or organize your pile for your first full day back. Check in with a few co-workers.
Rita is available to speak to your group about moving from stressed to strong. Reach out today!