Vacation Mode On
Hitting the reset button is crucial for me. In the past, I've had the issue where I've always been on. Constantly on email, text or ensuring I'm on top of every single thing. This caused me to burn out, be always tired and not succeed in anything I was trying to accomplish. Then I learned how to reset myself. I taught myself how to go on vacation without actually leaving my own home. It was a hard but valuable lesson to learn. Learning how to reenergize became vital to me and a key to success. While it's different for everyone, for me, this looks like going to a spin class, hanging out with my partner and just ignoring the internet for a few hours. For others, this might look different, but going in with the correct mindset makes a world of difference.
Many believe that for total relaxation, to disconnect you need to go on a vacation. I want to challenge that theory by saying you need to make every day a holiday. Figure out what works for you to relax and implement that strategy. When I chat with others about re-energizing, a common theme I hear is "oh but I feel guilty about not working," or "I probably do work too much, but it's hard to leave when everyone else is working late," was this person. In fact, I probably still am this person. When I have to leave after working a 9 hour day, I feel a certain amount of guilt, especially if others are still in the office. We have trained ourselves to work too much, for many of us, we have grown up in the age of the internet where you have to be on and hustling 24/7. We thrive on hustle porn and strive to be work-a-holics. These notions are toxic, and we need to learn how to step back from this and how to enjoy our lives as well. We are no good to anyone if we are burnt out and continuously tired from overworking.
My first step in overcoming this was to start thinking of my home life as my vacation life. My home is a retreat I can go to, relax and do things that are just for me. All too often we feel like we can only shut down when we venture away from our homes, that home life is just an extension of work when in reality, you need to find a space where you can relax and reset yourself for the upcoming day.
Creating a safe space within the home can be difficult for some, especially if you work from home frequently or have a tendency to take a lot of work home with you. A trick that has worked for me is to create 'work zones' within my home. I am lucky enough that our condo has a second bedroom that we have converted into a small office that is for working. I made a household rule that I will only ever work from the desk in there, not from the couch and never from the bed. By creating workspace vs. living space, I've been able to create a balance between the two within my home.
Separating the home zone and the work zones of my home allows my brain to shift gears from work mode into relaxation mode. Ever tried to work from home on the couch only to not accomplish anything? It's because in your brain couch = relaxing, not get stuff done! By creating zones within your living space, you can create invisible boundaries for yourself to help with relaxation as well as productivity. I always think of this concept as the same as physically going into an office. When I'm in my office, I find I'm 90% more productive because I've moved into work mode. I want to get things accomplished so I can keep progressing. When I go into our home office I think of it as my workspace, my tools are there, and I can accomplish most goals. On the flip side, the rest of my condo is a real relaxation space. I've removed most reminders of work and attempt not to work while I'm there. No answering email all night, no sitting on the couch while working away on a project that could easily wait until the next day. When I go home, I enter relaxation mode.
While this all sounds simple, it's quite hard to put into practice for some (myself included). I often want to be social but am on a tight timeline, so I want to work from the couch vs. my office space. There are also times when no matter what I do, I still feel slightly burned out. That's when I know it's time to take a real vacation. Even if it's just for a short weekend trip, changing your space can change your mindset and never underestimate what a 2-hour weekend trip can do for your mental health. Perhaps a lot of this is mind over matter, but turning on that vacation mode even just for a few hours can be precisely what you need.