Now that we’re all basically just existing at home, people are having trouble going on vacation as the place where they feel most stressed and most relaxed are one and the same. It might be difficult for you to separate yourself from work on your holiday break, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Here are the things you should and shouldn’t do when you shut down work for some R & R.
Pressuring yourself to be productive
The number one mistake people make when going on vacation is setting goals they have to achieve during their time off. First off, vacations shouldn’t have to-do lists or quotas. Second, you don’t need to finish 10 books or watch 20 movies or set up a flourishing business in your free time unless you really want to.
Take it easy, sit down and do nothing. Let your mind and body rest from the constant hustle you experience every work week. It’s good to enjoy the quiet and do things at your own pace. Here’s something controversial yet brave to think about before you try to be busy on your designated R & R days: hustle culture got you fooled, doing nothing is amazing.
Entertaining work conversations
It’s not always easy to tear ourselves away from our responsibilities but if you don’t set boundaries with work on your rest days… news flash: those aren’t actually rest days.
Vacation leaves are government-mandated and they’re a right that every employee has, so feel free to turn off notifications for work group chats and emails. Of course, you actually have to be responsible enough to accomplish all your work before logging off so you and your boss can have some peace of mind when you go on leave.
Staying up until the sun rises
When you’re on vacation, there is no such thing as company time, so you might feel like staying up all night playing video games or doing internet deep dives of random trivia. But think about the times you suffered sleepless nights because of work or tight deadlines. Sleeplessness can lead to fatigue and lightheadedness, or worse, heart failure and impaired memory.
This might be the only time you’ll have to get those hours back so think twice before going through an all-nighter. Make sure you get at least seven hours of sleep every day. If you have a prolonged vacation time, try to fix your sleep schedule so you can still get enough Zzzs even when you go back to work.
Becoming a pro couch potato
Unless you’re a fitness coach leading online aerobics classes every day, I’m willing to bet that your job has you sitting immobile and crouched like a shrimp over your laptop for eight hours or more. On your vacation, try and not be stuck in this position.
It doesn’t have to be a full-on weight training workout, especially if you’re not into heavy cardio, you just have to get your body moving. Exercise has a mood-boosting effect which can help if you’re getting too worked up about all the work you have to catch up on after your break. You can try a socially-distanced walk every morning or a quick dance class or yoga class at night just to stretch your muscles and give those bones something new to do other than crouching over a screen.
Forgetting to have fun
The number one rule of any vacation is to have fun. Most of the time, we’re too busy trying to rest, trying to be productive or trying to catch up on all the things we missed while we were working that we forget to actually take a break.
If you find yourself regretting the time you spent “on vacation” because you weren’t able to enjoy it, ask yourself: “What did I do that wasn’t to my liking?” Once you have the answer, never, ever do it again. Vacation times aren’t infinite for us working adults so when you have them, make the most of them. Don’t overthink it and just do what makes you feel happy.