I love the holiday season just as much as anyone, but while some are jetting off on vacations all month or soaking up every minute of holiday festivities, I occasionally find myself having difficulty unplugging. My looming to-do list is top of mind and any important upcoming work tasks are something I’m thinking about well after the work day is over. I know many of us struggle with this, especially if you don’t have a conventional 9-5 schedule (hello, agents!) and it can be hard to put the work down and take some well-deserved relaxation time. As we’re nearing Christmas and New Years, I thought I would share a few tips on how to truly unplug this holiday season so we can all pour a cocktail and just f*cking chill.
In theory, it sounds fabulous to take a ton of time off during the holidays and not do any work. And some of us can do that! But I think it’s important to be realistic about your time off. Not everyone has the luxury of completely disconnecting during the holidays and that’s OKAY. If you need to check your email or make a few calls so shit doesn’t hit the fan while you’re away, just do it. Let your friends and family know you need to get some work done and get it done. But make sure you’re only doing the essentials and not just coming up with work that needs to be completed because you’re afraid to unplug.
Plan and Work Ahead
This is my holiday plan every year and it allows me to take time off and enjoy it. We all are busy and have lots of work to do, so to combat the stressful feeling of completely unplugging, get your work done in advance. I like to create a holiday plan several weeks in advance so I can gradually work ahead without feeling super overwhelmed by an extra workload. It might take some extra grinding upfront to be able to step away, but I think it’s totally worth it.
Solidify Your Time Off and Set Boundaries
Once you feel comfortable with the place your work is at or have a plan, you need to solidify your time off. Figure out the amount of time you’re taking and set exact dates so you know when you won’t be working. Once that is figured out, set boundaries with not only your clients and colleagues but with yourself. Let the people you work with know when you will be out of office, and set a clear boundary that you won’t be available. Do this in advance so everyone has plenty of time to wrap their heads around the fact that you’ll be unavailable. If your work is done in advance and taken care of, there shouldn’t be an issue. The world isn’t going to end if you take a few days off.
Disable Work Notifications
One of the most difficult things to do but so necessary… turn off those work-related notifications. No work emails, no slacks or chat notifications, just turn it off. This will allow you to fully unplug, relax, and enjoy the holidays without seeing things pop up you might want to deal with. If it makes you feel more comfortable, set up an automatic OOO message that people will receive if they send you an email.
I know for some of us it’s easier said than done, but taking time for yourself and having work-life balance is SO important. You’ll be more productive, creative, and happy at your job if you prioritize it. I know you can do it!