Work Life Balance: Detaching during vacation

 

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We are spending the week on Nantucket, a trip we’ve had planned since January. It’s an amazing trip and once in a lifetime for us because I’m not going to allow us to be one of those gorgeous couples who summer in the same place every year. So hubby you better soak up all the Nantuckety goodness you can.

But I digress. This post is less about vacation and more about the precarious and ever unatainable work-life balance. Because we planned this trip so early, I put it on my calendar incredibly early in the year for the awareness of my counterparts but I am starting a new position this week (literally Friday, eek!) with a promotion and new and more demanding responsibilities. It’s a position that I am incredibly excited about but in the build up, all I can feel is crushing and almost debilitating anxiety.

It’s a type of situationally induced anxiety that I’ve dealt with before. Every time I start something new that requires me to engage in new responsibilities, particularly if it involves strangers. I get this deep seeded panic; this elephant on my chest, heart racing, eye watering, tightness in my body. I haven’t felt it in quite some time, since I first went to college, or started my first retail job or began “grown up” job hunting. But this week it has vehemently reared it’s ugly head at a time when I should be relaxing.

There’s a healthy number of things that I can rattle off that lead to this feeling of pressure -how young I am at work, being childless as though a vacation can only be taken if you have children, the optics of taking a vacation when starting a new role, important deadlines coming this week that I must meet in spite of my absence, etc etc. I know there are a lot of bloggers who have this #girlboss #bossbabe mantra going on but in the interest of full transparency, I don’t got that going on.

I have spent the better part of three days OBSESSIVELY checking and responding to emails every single time I get a notification because God forbid anyone think I’m inaccessible when I am in fact inaccessible right now. So here are some ways that I am forcibly calming myself

 

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Creating work life balance for myself (and possibly yourself if you are anything like me) during vacation:

  1. Set an auto reply message. People now know you are out of office and do not expect a quick response. Leave number where you can be reached in case its urgent. Rarely will people use this number if they are courteous but you can be found should someone genuinely need you.
  2. Relegate email checking to certain times.  I made those times 9am, 12pm and 4pm for myself. That way I am not obsessively checking but will see anything that needs my immediate response.
  3. Put important must do task on the apple calendar with an alarm so they can be followed through. Nothing makes me more anxious than the possibility of missing my responsibilities. If I can just make sure that the important tasks are addressed then, it goes a long way to soothing me.
  4. Spend 15 min at night answering any non-urgent messages and setting next day alarms. I may be checking emails during the day but nine times out of ten, I’m not responding unless it’s urgent. Responding to email quickly before bed allows me to decompress without spending all night doing endless tasks.
  5. Calm down. This is truly the most important one. I have this amazing conversation with a VP of my company sometime ago and he said something that really stuck with me. “This company ran before you and it can exist without you for a week. Enjoy your vacations because when you get back, it will still be standing.” He’s right. The entire company will still be there when I get back.

So what about you? Do you struggle when leaving on vacation on is it very simple for you to detach?

 

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