Vacation Guilt

Good morning friends!

In a few hours Kevin will be swinging by my house and we will be heading off to New Hampshire to meet up with a couple of friends.

It’s about 8:45 right now and I’m not scheduled to leave until about 11:00…

I’m up a bit earlier than planned because I’m a little anxious. At some point this anxiousness will turn into excitement, but for now I’m anxious and I’m writing myself through finding out why. Previously, I would feel this way, ignore it/suppress it only to have it resurface later on. Not today. Because health.

Before I fell asleep last night I looked up the term “vacation guilt”. I have a tendency to feel guilty, like I’m doing something wrong, whenever I take time out of work. Because of this I never use my vacation time. I wanted to know if I was the only one and surprise, I’m not. I read a few blog posts and articles about it and discovered that vacation guilt has a lot less to do with actually taking time out of work, and a lot to do with feeling guilty about 1) leaving your co workers to cover your spaces while you are off having a good time and 2) the idea that you haven’t worked hard enough for it. Apparently millennials are the most likely to feel guilty for vacations to the point where they don’t actually use their vacation time. Crazy huh? (And yet we’re the lazy generation…)

I found that to be interesting, but also quite sad.

We have such a hard time disconnecting from our workday responsibilities that we cannot enjoy time away. I know for me personally, I try to set work boundaries. I used to be better at this. I used to have a personal rule for myself that if I was not at work, and someone asked me something about work (text/email), I’d respond to them (if it’s a non-emergency) the next day at work. I set that for my sanity, because if you’re not careful you can be working 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. When new staff come to my team I tell them to be selfish with their off days, because even though I’ve lost that practice over the years, I still believe in its importance. It creates a structure in your mind that your personal and work life are NOT one in the same. It’s nothing against your job, it’s everything for you. Let’s be real for a second, if you lost your sanity at your job, how quickly would you be replaced? Yea, I thought so. My current personal challenge; finding my identity in something other than what I do and pay my bills with…but that’s a whole other blog post for another day.

Within those same articles I found some solutions to vacation guilt that I wanted to share those with you guys!

Defeating vacation guilt

    Plan it Out – don’t want to leave your workplace high and dry while your clocked out for the week? Then don’t. Start planing a month (maybe two) ahead. Double your work load and complete tasks ahead of time so you don’t have any pile up work to greet you when you get back.
    Set those boundaries – discuss ahead of time (with bosses (if you’re comfortable) and coworkers what type of a disconnected weekend you want. Will you be checking your emails at night? At the end of the week? When you get back into the office? What type of emergencies do you want to be included on and left out of?
    Duplicate yourself – Set someone you trust up with being you for the time that you’re out. Let them be the one to make the important decisions and if they need to contact you, they will, but they’ll do so knowing your communication with them is limited.
    Actually have fun – if you waste your time off worrying about work, you’ll feel even more guilty when you get back to the office. So don’t. Enjoy the time off. Do something fun. Take photos to remember it by (or don’t…) and make the most of doing something different for a while.
    Rest – make sure that between that fun and stress there’s time for rest & quiet relaxation.

Now, it’s time for me to take my own advice. I actually did the first 4 steps and I feel good about it. All that’s left for me to do is make sure I’ve packed everything, grab something to eat, hit the road and actually have fun. So I will.

Happy weekend!

Talk soon,

Nicole