By: Karen R. Thompson, LMSW, CEAP, CAADC, EAC Clinical Specialist – Summer vacation season is here! We all look forward to taking time off work over the summer months to relax and de-stress. It is important to be able to fully disconnect from work in order to get the maximum benefit from our precious vacation time. A study by the American Psychological Association has shown that taking a vacation can reduce stress by removing people from the activities and environments they associate with anxiety. Additionally, taking a vacation can help improve mental health and increase productivity. Make sure you are using this time away from work to get the maximum benefit possible. In this day and age of constant connectivity, many of us can feel tethered to work. This can take a toll on us.
Disconnecting from work involves some planning. It is important to take the time during the weeks before your vacation to prepare well for your time away from work. Make sure your co-workers are aware of your vacation in advance and try to wrap up details on any potential issues that could arise. Arrange for someone to cover your responsibilities if needed and set up an “out of office” reply for e-mail and voicemail.
Many people struggle to maintain boundaries between work and personal time. In order for your vacation to be restorative, it will be necessary to disconnect from work completely. Make sure you only take personal devices with you on vacation. Resist any temptation to check work e-mails and shut off notifications from these accounts. As most of us know, it can take a couple of days away from work stress to begin to unwind on vacation. Give yourself permission to relax and remember the office will survive without you. You will be able to return to work more focused, less stressed, and more productive!
If stress is building up in your life or you have trouble disconnecting, reach out to EAC. We are here to help with those issues in addition to other life stressors you may be experiencing.