You need a break! (video transcript)
Are you starting to think that vacation is not even worth it, because it’s so stressful getting ready and then so overwhelming coming back?
Here are some things to think about to make your vacation last a little longer and feel less stressful.
Vacation stress management tip #1 – ‘Stocking the pantry’
Four weeks ahead of my most recent vacation I started ‘stocking the pantry’.
That means I dedicated an hour three times a week to getting ahead on a few tasks. I got my invoicing finished early. I wrote blogs that are going to be going live while I’m away. I also wrote the blog for the week after I’m back, so that I have one less thing to think about in that busy week.
So stocking the pantry really helps.
Vacation stress management tip #2 – Marathon day
As I know that there’s going to be so much left to get done before I head off on vacation, I just accept it and try to make it fun.
I start my marathon day at 7:00 AM with a quick massage to make myself feel better and to start to dream about what vacation’s going to be like, and after that massage, I go back and I work until everything is done.
Vacation stress management tip #3 – Pre-holiday buffer day
If you can afford it in your vacation, book a day where you might have to work for a couple of hours to tie up those loose ends, but which also gives you some time to think about packing or other things you need to do before going away.
Vacation stress management tip #4 – Out-of-office rule
When you’re on vacation, it’s really important to have a good out of office rule.
Make sure you’ve talked to your colleagues and your manager beforehand to decide how you’re going to manage things.
For example, are you going completely off the grid until you return? Are you going to be checking in each morning at 8:00 AM, but only then? Whatever you decide is fine, but you need to ensure that it’s clear with people before you go and clear in your out of office message or your voicemail.
Vacation stress management tip #5 – Allow yourself a cheat day
As I’m an entrepreneur and I have my own business, I don’t feel comfortable being completely out of touch for two weeks.
So what I do is assign a ‘cheat day’ during the vacation where I schedule a few meetings or set aside time to catch up on some important work.
For example, I might schedule one meeting from 7:30 to 8:15 in the morning, and another from 4:00 to 5:00 PM; that way the meetings don’t interfere with the prime time of the holiday!
Vacation stress management tip #6 – Post-holiday buffer day(s)
When you come back, I find it makes life so much easier to have one or two buffer days.
Say if you come home on the Saturday, I set aside Sunday as a home buffer day to take care of things like laundry and unpacking. I then have Monday as a work buffer day, which is a day with no meetings so that I can get through my inbox and get my head around things.
Another helpful tip for the work buffer day is to triage your inbox. Rather than responding to all emails in order, set some time aside to gauge which emails need prioritizing so you don’t waste your time responding to something that’s already been resolved in your absence.
Vacation is super important. It’s important to your business, to your team, to your productivity, to your mental health and to your relationships. Please make sure you do take your vacation, but try a few things to make it less aversive, both in the lead up and when you come back.
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