Summertime is the perfect chance to book an exciting new holiday, visit friends and family or simply take some "you" time to relax. For many workers, however, that can be more easily said than done.
In today's hyper-connected world, it can be hard to truly leave work behind for some time off. You may be tempted to read emails, check in with colleagues on status updates for your projects or set aside a little time to work on daily tasks you're afraid won't be done correctly in your absence. It's so easy to stay in the loop, so why not just see how things are going, right? But in doing so, you deprive yourself of true vacation time, which can actually have a more negative impact on your job in the long run.
Instead, you'd be better off just adequately planning for your vacation days before you leave, disconnecting completely from work life for a few days and coming back refreshed and ready to dive back in. Here's how:
Why You Need a Vacation
Working too much can drastically increase your stress levels, which can take a negative toll on your health. High blood pressure, anxiety, headaches and gastrointestinal problems can all stem from too much stress. It can even compound and eventually lead to serious conditions like heart disease and diabetes.
According to Global News, taking a vacation at least once a year can drastically reduce these effects. The publication cites a study that found that vacationers were 32 per cent less like to die of heart disease.
And the effects aren't all physical. Slice reports that vacations improve creativity by allowing you to rest and recharge, so that when you come back to work you're looking at problems with a fresh perspective. Taking breaks from work can also boost your mood, contributing to further productivity gains. Coupled with the reduced stress and boredom that going on vacation provides, you can end up coming back an even better employee! After all, you work better when you're rested, making fewer errors and having the energy to complete large tasks quickly. Getting mental rest by taking a vacation can have the same effects.
How to Set Yourself Up for Success Before You Leave
Though leaving for a vacation is ultimately good for you, if you don't prepare your work ahead of time, you can come back to more hassles than you left, negating some of the good vibes you picked up while you were out.
"Create to-do lists for anyone helping to cover you while you're gone."
One of the first things you need to do before you take a vacation is inform all the need-to-know people that you'll be gone. Whether that means alerting coworkers you collaborate with on projects or telling staff who report to you each day, everyone you interact with should get the heads up that you'll be out so they can plan accordingly. Follow this up by setting an out-of-office reply in your email so people know not to expect to hear from you during your time off.
If you have projects due during your vacation, find out if you need to finish those early or if they can wait until you come back. In general, you're better off getting everything completed before you for you go. You'll have better momentum before you take a break and need to get caught up again.
Create to-do lists for anyone helping to cover you while you're gone. Make sure they have access to everything they'll need from you to keep up with your tasks in your absence.
Coming Back From Vacation
As important as it is for you to prepare before you leave work, you should also leave yourself time to get reacclimated when you come back. Global News recommends giving yourself a day at home again before you have to go back to work, rather than trying to cram in one last full day on vacation.
Use this time to get organized, check your emails and rest up if your travel was hectic or you had an early morning flight. That way, you'll be prepared for anything unexpected that happened while you were out, and you can feel more relaxed going into your next work day fully prepared.
So go ahead and book a trip this summer and take your well-deserved time off. With a little planning, you can fully unplug for your vacation and come back to work refreshed and revitalized.