We live in a world where, sometimes, taking a vacation causes more stress than the idea of not taking one. The age of technology is upon us and when people aren't inundated with emails and catching up on correspondence, there's often a void leftover. Learning how to let go and simply just relax is very much a foreign concept to most, which is why taking vacations is that much more important in today's day and age.
With the advance of 'flexcations' - which are basically vacations during which people bring their work with them - the idea of taking a break from it all has become even more convoluted. No longer is a vacation a simple deal that involves tuning out and tuning in; rather, a vacation often includes checking in or feeling as though one is doing something wrong by stepping away. In an effort to combat the unhealthy work-life vs. well-earned vacation life balance (or lack thereof), here's what everyone should avoid, if at all possible, while on vacation from work.
Answering Any Emails, Work Communications, Or Phone Calls
The first step to taking any kind of vacation is to physically disconnect in order to mentally disconnect. It's not uncommon when a person can't re-route their thinking if work notifications are always going off in the background - and this is the last thing anyone wants to deal with while they're away. Understandably, there are some career fields where this isn't an option. In that case, plan to only allow emergency alerts, and maybe even specific co-workers, to come through on one's phone or computer. Having a plan in place and re-routing emergency issues or time-sensitive problems to come through one person, rather than having several trying to get in touch, will drastically cut down on stress.
For those where shutting off notifications entirely is an option, feel free to do so! By definition, taking a vacation means a temporary leave of absence. This means that in one's place, another person will temporarily be in charge - which means the person on vacation has permission to leave the stress for a little while. Take advantage of this.
Not Leaving Their House Or Town When It Comes To Taking A Full Vacation
With the rise of staycations and people realizing that they can take their vacations without ever leaving their houses, this has become more of a problem. While the actual idea of a staycation isn't bad by any means, the association many people have with their work-from-home lives and staycation lives is. More people got a taste of what it's like to be able to work from the comfort of their own homes, which has turned the home space into somewhat of a comfort zone. It might seem smart to take a staycation to enjoy one's home without working, but with this comes temptation.
It's too easy to just check the computer, or sign in to a work site on one's phone, or swing by the office just to say hello. The mindset that one has at home also does nothing to jumpstart that classic 'vacation mode' that we all so desperately seek. The first day might feel great; Netflix-and-junk-food-on-the-couch-kind of great. However, once we wake up on the second morning, we're immediately in work mode before vacation mode. The best thing to do? Book a hotel in one's hometown, rent a nearby Airbnb, or go somewhere that isn't the same walls a person has been staring at for the last year and a half.
Guilt-Tripping Oneself Into Work-Related FOMO
It's incredibly challenging, sometimes, to break the habit of thinking about work. The workforce now is full of generations that have been conditioned to believe that mind, body, soul, and a little sweat and blood must go into making a career. While this isn't untrue, it's also not entirely healthy. Recognizing that boundary between working hard and working always is the first step to breaking it. A person's worth ethic is not dependent on their ability to work 16 hours out of a 24-hour-day, nor should a vacation be reflective of their need to recharge and indulge in some self-care.
Studies have shown that people who take vacations (and breaks) actually come back even more focused and ready to take on new challenges. This brief reset is sometimes all the brain needs to re-wire itself into gearing up for work mode again. A constant, non-stop stream of heavy workloads isn't conducive to any type of work schedule, least of all one that's high-pressure. The only FOMO one should be feeling is about themselves, and what they'll miss if they don't take their vacation.