We all know the drill. We schedule time on our calendars to unplug, and then it gets pushed while we tell ourselves that just this last thing needs to get done or we have an important project to finish up. But what we’re forgetting in those moments is that taking time to recharge, especially during the holidays, should also be a priority.
Workplace trends show that more people than ever are permanently working from home, and we all know by now that being a remote or hybrid employee can make it difficult to unplug and focus on your loved ones and yourself. If you’re stressing about balancing work, family, social calendars, and everything in between, here are some tips on how to rest and enjoy your holiday season
Block your calendar — and stick to it
Stick to your goal to put your work computer down and spend time with family and friends by starting with small, reasonable blocks of time that seem doable for your schedule. Whether it’s leaving 30 minutes early to take a walk or scheduling an extra hour to eat lunch on a light meeting day, anything counts!
Once you’re comfortable taking smaller increments away from work, you might feel more confident blocking larger chunks of time during the holiday hustle and bustle. It is, however, important to be transparent with your team or manager about why you’re putting time for yourself on your calendar, so that they can help you honor it.
If you’re still having trouble with taking downtime, there are tools to help you keep work out of sight, out of mind. You can utilize programs and apps — like Flipd or Freedom — to help you manage screen time, which can be particularly useful if you want to turn work off on your phone. Or, you can ask a friend outside of work to be your accountability partner, so when you want to check your email or open your computer, you can text them instead.
Make a WFH plan with your team
One way to ensure your scheduled OOO blocks are honored is to create “shifts” during times when many people are likely to be unavialable. Create a calendar specific to your team’s PTO to make sure there’s coverage during the times you all need support. Make sure you touch base with your team regularly about how you can best cover for each other.
Once your team has an established calendar, share the plan with the teams you work with and let them know who to get in contact with and when. By being overly communicative about these blocks of time, you can plan ahead so that you aren’t worried or tempted to check on things while you’re away.
Leave your electronics at home
This tip is pretty simple: unplug to unplug. You can’t pick up work during time you should be recharging if you don’t have your technology available to you. This can be as little as turning off your computer (or phone) and leaving it in the other room, or it can be as grand as taking a trip to somewhere you don’t have service or internet (a serene mountain cabin surrounded by snow, perhaps?)
Even if it’s just somewhere in between like silencing your work email and Slack on your phone during the time you want to take for yourself, you want to make sure your technology isn’t distracting you from being in the moment.
Get your hands dirty (or at least keep them busy)
Some people aren’t the type to recharge by sitting down on the couch and watching a movie, and that’s okay! If you find yourself feeling restless and tempted to work, try finding an activity that keeps your hands and mind engaged.
Whether it’s holiday-specific like baking cookies or putting up decorations with your family or finding a creative craft you enjoy that you can do all year round, as long as you aren’t staring at a computer screen it’s still a form of rest.
Plan a little “me-time”
Not all activities have to be centered around plans, events, or family activities. Time to yourself is essential and can help you be more productive when you return to work. Journaling, meditation, spa days, or even just listening to your favorite playlist while you take a walk — make space for you, so you can go into 2023 feeling rested and recharged.
Once you have a plan in place for your holidays, you can focus on being in the moment and making memories—which is, after all, what the season is all about.
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