I just returned from an incredible two-week vacation where I was totally ‘checked out’ from work. It took a lot to completely unplug and I must admit it has taken a while not to feel a twinge of guilt about it. However, early in my career I learned the hard way that if I don’t take care of myself — then my body will make me pay for it.
Too many women in the workforce, especially leaders with company wide responsibilities, find it difficult to completely step away from work. When we don’t take a much needed break, we can end up stressed out, ineffective and not a good person to be around.
Personally, I have learned the importance of letting go of work so that I can focus on me and the family.Here are the steps I have learned to take in order to give myself the space and permission to relax while on vacation:
1. Give all your responsibilities to a trusted team member and allow them to step up and take leadership. Your vacation is an opportunity to develop a direct report, by giving them a chance to step up and lead during your absence. It can be a win/win for you and your company.
2. Thank your team members for honoring your time off in advance. Sent out a note to let everyone know that you’re taking time off and it’s important that you have the space to relax. And return the favor by not disturbing others when they are on vacation.
3. Turn off the cell phone, set an ‘out of office message’ and plan to have a wonderful break. It’s empowering to step away from work and only focus on the fun things you want to do. Use your precious time off to reflect, celebrate and totally engage with family and friends