You may or may not have noticed that I fell off the map for a bit around the middle of June. I didn’t publish any new blog posts, or share updates to Twitter, Pinterest or Facebook unless they’d been pre-scheduled. Even my Instagram and Snapchat suffered from 7 days of inactivity, which is unheard of for me these days. I’d been feeling like I needed a break for a while, and just woke up one morning and decided to take one.
Unfortunately, this unplanned absence from blogging and life in general wasn’t the best idea, since a lot of my responsibilities were left unattended. In the end, I was more guilty and stressed after the break than I was before, and I’ve been playing catch-up ever since. Because of this, I’ve been feeling the need for another break/vacation asap, but I don’t want to end up in the same position as before.
So, today I wanted to re-share some tips for taking effective breaks from your responsibilities without feeling guilty while trying to relax, or being even more stressed when you return to the regularly scheduled program.
1. Do it on your off-peak times
If you’re an accountant, it’s probably not a great idea to take a relaxation day in the middle of tax season. Don’t decide to take a break when you know you’ll have a mountain of work piling up, because you’ll spend the entire time worrying about it. Doesn’t exactly scream relaxation, does it?
Choose a time when you know work will be slower so you’ll be able to fully put it out of your mind.
2. Schedule it
There’s nothing wrong with an impromptu mental health day. But, if you’re a scheduler, your inner Type A will be a lot less resistant to the idea of taking a day off if you plan ahead. Carve out some time, pencil it in, catch up on work beforehand, let everyone know you’ll be unavailable, and then relax.
Like most people I get emails and notifications for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc sent to my phone. And of course, I get calls, text messages and IMs. If I kept my phone on me while I was trying to relax, I’ll be rushing to answer every call and reply to every email, blog comment or message. Sounds a lot like work to me.
So, if you’re truly after time off, detach the phone/tablet/laptop from your side and give yourself a fighting chance at this taking-a-break thing.
4. Do something you love
We all know I love to read, so my ideal relaxation day would look a little something like this: Wake up >> Eat Breakfast >> Read >> Eat Lunch >> Nap >> Wake up >> Read >> Eat Dinner >> Read >> Sleep
If your ideal day would be spent sleeping, running, at the gym, in the kitchen or even cleaning- do it! This day is for you. Immerse yourself in something you love and it’ll be a lot easier to keep thoughts about responsibilities at bay.
5. Make it a Habit
The few times I’ve taken planned time off from the stress of life I noticed something: when I return to work, my productivity, creativity and patience all increase. I’m able to do what I need to do without being bogged down my a mountain of stress and my work is better for it. But, this only works if I planned my relaxation time properly and didn’t let work pile up.
The more you get used to taking properly planned time off, the easier it’ll be to relax without feeling guilty and stressed, because you know it helps in the long run.
What about you?
- Do you take breaks/vacation often?
- Do you feel guilty when you take time off from life and work?
- What helps you relax without feeling guilty?
Share in the comments below!
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Originally published in August 2014