How To Stop Thinking About Work While On Holiday

DND! All work and no play makes for a very stressful vacation. Here’s how to leave your work hat at the office, so you can relax and unwind to your fullest potential.
DND! All work and no play makes for a very stressful vacation. Here’s how to leave your work hat at the office, so you can relax and unwind to your fullest potential. (Kammeran Gonzalez-Keola/Pexels)

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This isn’t just about relaxing and having a lovely holiday. It is crucial to recharge ourselves for our work life to be more sustainable in the long run. Burning out is tiring (speaking from personal experience), and we all shouldn’t get to a point where work literally drains the life out of us.

So, hear us out. Take that well-deserved time off from work and come back with a refreshed mind and new perspectives. Without further ado, let’s dive into how we can craft the time off for ourselves!

Schedule and allocate tasks

(PNW Production/Pexels)

When planning a holiday, you will already have set dates in mind. Now, working backwards, schedule tasks so that you can finish them before taking time off. Allocate them to your colleagues for jobs or projects that will be ongoing while you’re away. Let your teammates know what you’ll be working on before your trip and what needs to be handed over.

Next, create a list of tasks for when you’re back from vacation. That way, you can leave work at the door and know what needs to be done when you’re back — this will avoid having thoughts of things to do while you’re enjoying time away from work. It’ll make the transition of being back so much easier too!

I am ‘out of office’

(Avel Chuklanov/Unsplash)

Letting people know you’ll be ‘out of the office’ may sound pretty straightforward, but it won’t hurt to go a little further by managing expectations. Set some boundaries before going on the holiday – send an email to your team as a reminder that you won’t be checking your emails and notifications, but will revert when you’re back. Reiterate the tasks that you have allocated to colleagues and attach any relevant documents in the email.

Write an ‘out of office’ automated email, so your senders are well informed of the dates you’ll be away and the day that you’ll be back. Also include a colleague’s contact if the sender needs an immediate response, and inform your colleague that they will be expecting some emails. That way, you won’t have to worry about missing out on urgent matters.

You snooze, but you won’t lose

(Maxim Ilyahov/Unsplash)

Snooze or mute push notifications on work-related apps. Trust us, you won’t miss out on anything super significant that could shock you upon your return. Missing out on this step could allow one work-related notification to transport your brain into work mode, and we definitely don’t want that. Remember, the goal here is to replenish your energy so that you can come back fresh!

If you’re not in a position to go incognito, carve out a session of 20-30 minutes of the day to respond to work matters. Also important: set the alarm to commit to only spending the designated time on work and completely switch off once the alarm goes off.

Out of sight, out of mind

Leave your gadgets like your laptop or iPad at home. Try to stick to your phone only (with work notifications muted, of course). We know how tempting it is to reply to just that one email or finish off that one paragraph of a story, but try your best not to. If the gadgets aren’t there, the likelihood is more diminutive. If you have to bring your devices along, keep work tabs in a different browser and work files tucked away.

Immerse yourself in the holiday

(Farsai Chaikulngamdee/Unsplash)

One way to stop yourself from thinking about work is not giving yourself time to think about what you are not doing. Focus on the fun you’re having on your trip — the places you want to go to, the cafes and bars you spot along the way, shopping, the endless naps, and sun-tanning by the beach— you name it, it’s for you to do! Being on holiday is the only time you have the opportunity to tune out of work. Seize it by relaxing to the max, friends!

Create a contingency plan

This is just in case thoughts about work pop into your head and you start ruminating on them. Prepare a little notepad or notebook, set a five- to 10-minute timer, and write down your thoughts so that you can look into them after the trip. This will help to prevent your ideas from spiralling into full-blown anxiety. Alternatively, quickly speak to someone you trust, and change the subject once you feel a bit better. Focus on what excites you on the trip you’ve taken!

Block out a transition period

Forget Monday blues. Holiday blues, which you’ll usually experience the day after arriving home from an enjoyable vacation, is definitely worse! So, if possible, take a day off after returning from your trip to ease yourself back into work mode. Schedule a few hours to catch up on emails and notifications. Do this for your future self so that you don’t get overwhelmed and reverse the refreshing vacation you just had.

Enjoy

All there’s left to do now is pack your bags and head off to your most exciting holiday yet. Take deep breaths and enjoy your time off!

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(they/them) River is a pawrent to 2 cats and an introvert. Part of the UBI (Useless Bits of Information) brain club, inspiration usually strikes when they're in the shower, on the toilet bowl or during commutes.