In the middle of March, I was all ready to vacation in New Orleans. I had planned the trip months before and had the perfect itinerary for me and the family. Then, COVID happened. And I spent a few sad days canceling reservations and coming to terms with what was happening in the world.
I almost decided not to take the week off, but my husband encouraged me to still do it anyway. I heeded his advice and am so glad that I did.
Taking vacation or days off from work can be tough, especially now. The emails pile up. The possibility of missing something important. So many people needing you. And now, it can even seem less enticing since the pandemic is limiting all types of travel plans.
If you feel this way, you are not alone. In the USA, only 28% of employees max out their vacation days. And if you are an entrepreneur, you might not be taking any vacation at all.
We feel exhausted, but what gets in the way of taking that much needed time off? Lots of things that usually stem from overwhelm that is caused by all types of things. From looming deadlines to anxiety about a full email inbox to potentially losing income and even boredom if you aren’t used to slowing down.
So, how do we get over this? Because not taking vacation just can’t be the option anymore. Here are some things to consider:
Start planning 2-3 weeks out. Work backward so you can make deadlines. Let others know so they can get you things in time to review and work on. Work a little longer on few days leading up to vacation to fit it in and maximize your time off. Plan for your vacation so you have peace of mind.
Put up an auto-responder. Let people know you are away and that you won’t be checking email. Also resist the urge to send emails while on vacation (and giving the impression that you are still busy to co-workers). You have to respect your boundaries first before anyone else will.
Plan things to do on your vacation or staycation. During my quarantine vacay, I made a list of movies I wanted to watch, new music, restaurants to get takeout, nap, and recipes I wanted to try. When I felt tempted to do work, I consulted my vacation list which kept me busy.
Accept that taking time off is natural and helps you be more productive. Let go of guilty feelings that come up around taking time off. Taking time off actually helps you come back to work more energized. Relaxation and self care are an investment in yourself that keeps on giving.
Bottom Line: You deserve to take vacation (even now when the world is semi-closed). So plan for it, then do it.
Can you schedule some time off before the year is out? What will you do to maximize the time and not worry about work?
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