Consider and protect your home as a safe place by removing yourself from devices that remind you that there’s work to be done and could easily distract you back towards that work.
There was a time before mobile phones when vacation and time away from the office was just that—you could truly get a break from work. It was much harder for people to get in touch with you. I am sure you have tried contacting someone and gotten the out of office response that includes they will be “unreachable with limited access to the internet.” And to “please contact Melissa at.…” Yes, that message. You too can be one of those individuals. Make it happen. This is a more than appropriate time for it to be perfectly okay to delegate a few tasks while you are gone.
If you find that your need for control keeps asserting itself, fight that habit and leave that message! You can address any issues after you have had a break. Grant yourself the use of your hard-earned vacation days to experience some personal time. It feels really good to return to work refreshed, prepared, and energized to attack whatever you find on your desk!
If you find this concept challenging, I suggest beginning with small increments. A day here and there is a very nice pause. Even if you end up having only a very brief respite, that’s more than you may have seriously considered before reading this. Please try it.
Even with all the steps and buffers, be aware of what your own body tells you. Stress reveals itself within you. Pay attention to signals that may occur so you may identify and act upon as soon as possible. An example? Think about the stomachache you may feel first thing in the morning because you are nervous, or aches and pains as they can accumulate as a result of stress and anxiety. Or what wakes you up at 3:33 every morning!?
Disconnect physically from work. Consider and protect your home as a safe place by removing yourself from devices that remind you that there’s work to be done and could easily distract you back towards that work. Cover things. For example, hiding your laptop in a closet will keep work out of sight and out of mind.
If you are able, try a private ritual for before or when you arrive home, such as exercising, walking, gardening, or a cleansing shower. Even with children, we can find a way. I have a friend who would arrive home and within five minutes he and the kids would be jumping in the pool for instant quality family time. For some, it is music. Whatever your preferences, let them be ones that replenish you.
Excerpted from Common Nonsense? A Practical Guide to Managing Through Emotional Intelligence by Susan Fink Childs, FACMPE.