Relaxing has never been one of my strengths. In fact, not being able to relax is one of my weaknesses: left to my own devices, I usually work myself into exhaustion. There’s plenty of science that proves taking vacations, even short ones, has huge health benefits, both physical and emotional, but even that hasn’t always been enough to get me out of the office and on the way to a relaxing vacation. As funny as it may sound, I’ve had to think of ways to make taking time off easier.
Here are three things I did to make my recent off-the-grid vacation one of the most stress-free and positive breaks I’ve ever had:
- Say it out loud. I told my friends, family, and the team that I needed a break. Like, really needed a break. Going public and being open about it was awesome. Everyone encouraged me not to feel guilty about taking time off and helped me cover all the bases while I was gone. Making it a group effort helped me worry less and disconnect more. Which made me way happier.
- Commit to unplugging. To really relax and get the full benefit of being away, I knew I’d have to completely unplug this time. That meant getting myself removed from all work emails beforehand and staying off all social media (though I was allowed to post moments in Happier 🙂 ….but just a few…). Instead of making up an excuse to justify my absence to others, I wrote an honest out-of-office email that said I was away because I needed a break and that I wouldn’t be checking emails on vacation. I also asked anyone trying to reach me to shoot me an email right after I was back if what they needed was time sensitive (which made me feel less panicked about missing something critical).
- New routines. I changed my vacation-routine completely — including no super-early morning walks, trying different foods, taking time to read actual books which is a luxury — all to maximize “brain chill-out.” Doing as many different things as possible is the best way for me to disconnect from regular life because it helps me get into a whole new mind space. As I hoped, it worked wonders this time.
When I came back, I felt more refreshed and organized — and happier — than I had in a long time. I wasn’t surprised that my vacation would be great for me, but what did surprise me was how great it was for everyone to have me return so calm and well-rested.
If you need a break, take one. It’s not selfish. It’s a way to nurture yourself and give the best version of yourself to everyone around you.