We work too much.
Study after study shows that those in the USA are working more hours and more days, rarely taking the breaks they need to “recharge” and maintain a healthy quality of life.
And self-care is critically important.
We often forget that our strength to get through difficult work schedules is not necessarily a permanent thing, nor is it always going to be something you can control. Yes, you may currently feel that you are emotionally strong enough to cope with the stress of frequent work – and you might be! – but that endurance may not last forever.
Eventually, constant and persistent stress and hard work can begin to affect the health of our brains, which in turn may lead to the development of mental health struggles
Life on Vacation in the Modern World
Vacations are meant to be a chance to refresh your life after working for a lot of hours. But all too often, when working men and women take a vacation, they experience anxiety about slacking on their work responsibilities and/or have trouble stepping away from their emails. They find themselves unable to turn off or tune out the work life that they’re supposed to be leaving behind.
This means that the person may be unable to live in the moment, or they may not have the quality, relaxing time with friends, family, or by themselves to experience the physical and psychological benefits of vacations that these trips are supposed to offer.
It is thus exceedingly important to make sure that you are “unplugged” from work while on your vacation. Here are a few tips to do that effectively and experience less anxiety about being away.
- Make sure that you are completely set up for automatic responses while you are away. Make sure your email has an out-of-office reply, your answering machine has a custom message, someone else is fully briefed on how to cover your tasks, and that there is an emergency number in place in case you really do need to be reached. Knowing that every aspect of your job is accounted for can make unplugging much easier.
- Give yourself a short window where you can do work. For example, spending a 15 minute block at 5:30pm every day to go through all of your work related emails can ensure that you feel as though nothing will be forgotten or left behind, even though you are otherwise not working on any projects. Also, assign someone with you on vacation to hold you accountable to working only within the window of time you have allocated for work.
- Leave your phone and computer behind. There are times when you need it with you, but if you’re doing an activity that may not require someone to contact you, leave your laptop at home and your cell phone back at the hotel so that there is no way for you to get “plugged in” even if you wanted to.
Finally, no matter what you’re doing on your vacation, make sure you add in mental wellness practices such as mindful breathing or meditation. These can help reduce your anxiety about being away, and take up your time with a relaxing non-work task.
Another form of self-care is therapy. If you find that you are overwhelmed with work and need someone to talk to, please contact Long Island Psychology today.