Summer is here, and after two years of stops and starts for getting away, more than ever we’re ready for a vacation. Families are looking to travel again and that means putting in vacation time and unplugging from the office. With technology, that is easier said than done.
Vacations are a great time to relax, unwind, and simply be present with family, friends, and even yourself. We know that getting away from work is a great way to fight off burnout and recharge our batteries. And there are a lot of great suggestions for how you can feel better about unplugging from work while on vacation. Here are just a few:
- Be clear with colleagues about what a work emergency looks like
- Be deliberate in crafting your out-of-office message
- Check-in with everyone before you leave the office
- Leave your work technology at home
- Limit when you can be online, only when you’re in your room for example
- Choose a location with limited connectivity or rules for being online
These are all excellent suggestions, but a recent article from Ilana Friedman provides even more insight on how to unplug. Here are a few suggestions from the article:
- Consciously set the intention to be fully present and (here’s the key!) communicate that intention to friends, family, and work. Enroll your circle with the goal of really getting away, and make sure everyone knows you will not respond to anything non-emergency-related until you are back.
- Slow down, WAY down. We live lives packed to the brim with appointments, meetings, work, and social engagements. Being on vacation gives us the chance to spend a long afternoon sipping coffee in an outdoor cafe and watching the world go by. It is so alluring to pack a trip in the same way we pack our normal schedules so as not to miss anything. Try to build in bigger chunks of time and leave enough flexibility for adventures! The most meaningful travel memories aren’t the museum tours, they are the times when you go off script, have an adventure, and allow a new place to show itself to you in an organic, unstructured way.
- Engage with people. The best way to get your attention off yourself (and your work email) is to get it on someone else. Say hello to the person next to you in line, ask people where they are from, and chat with the waiter. You never know where these connections can lead!
- Be kind to yourself! The first couple of days of a trip can be the hardest. Our bodies are used to a crazy pace that you almost feel like you’re doing something wrong by slowing down. In those moments, take a breath, look around you and engage with your surroundings, and repeat to yourself “just be.” You deserve to slow down, rest, recover and just be part of your environment.
Ilana does a great job of going a little deeper on why we need to unplug on vacation beyond creating a checklist of things that can help do it. If we’re not mentally prepared to unplug, it’s a lot easier to rationalize checking email and in turn not fully disengaging from the office. The benefits of fully unplugging outweigh the initial impulse to check-in. You owe it to yourself to take a break and enjoy just being without the worry of doing.
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