At a time where work locations and hours have become increasingly flexible, it can be easy to feel like you're on call 24/7, inevitably leading to feeling burned out. Taking a break from work is not only beneficial, but essential; it's important to rest, reset and enjoy some time off.
Taking a break from your surroundings is not only refreshing, but also critical for everyone's mental health. Explore new places, challenge yourself and do more than just take time off of work.
If you have teenagers or little kids, get everyone involved and find a destination or activity that can be fun for everyone. If your kids are feeling anxious to go somewhere after being sequestered for so long, ease out into the world by including everyone in your vacation planning. Make sure everyone in your family (who’s eligible) is vaccinated. But even if you're on vacation, distractions can mount and it can become difficult for you to ever truly relax. Find ways to set boundaries with work and social media so that you seize the day and utilize your free time:
- Turn off notifications. If you're not on call, turn off alerts, reminders and any other distraction that could remind you of work. Dedicate your time to completely disconnecting and focusing on yourself, friends and family.
- Communicate with your work team. Let your team know that you'll be out of town and unavailable (depending on specific work needs). Make sure that your time off remains just that — time off from work.
- Prioritize what you want to do. Is there a book you've been wanting to read but just haven't had the time? Now is the time. Or have you been wanting to get out and go on a hike? Do it now! Prioritize the things you've always wanted to do but have been too busy to do because of work.
- Give yourself a time limit. If you need to check your email or do anything work related, set a timer to remind yourself when to unplug. By giving yourself a time limit, you can better control how long you think about work.
- Treat your body well. While you're vacationing (or staycationing), remember to eat well and get enough sleep. Treating your body well will help you to reset and recharge.
While a vacation won't solve all stress and anxiety, it can give you the break that you need to get away from the stress. Taking breaks and time off is essential for your mental health, which is why it's so important to leave work behind when you go on vacation. Set appropriate boundaries and optimize your time off to do the things you've always wanted to do. Find ways to completely disconnect from work and reconnect with yourself and loved ones.
This article first appeared in the August 2021 edition of the HealthPerks newsletter.