An endless to do list and so much to organise is the normal pattern for when I take a break away from work. The pressure to make sure I have done everything I can to make sure everything is up to date, clean and tidy. It can feel a bit overwhelming and stressful at times, but I find it so worthwhile.
For me to have a break from work it really needs to be just that a break, so I turn on the out of office, change the voicemail and click off social media notifications. Having any of these available to me could draw me in and away from having time off.
I can’t stop my thoughts and so if something that is work related creeps in, I can give it some attention and then if it is an action note it down and put it to one side. I feel passionate about my work and enjoy it, but it is only one part of my life. I see that there is nothing wrong with spending time away from it and it can clear my mind to make me more attentive.
Feeling anxious about what I come back to was something that I have felt in the past, how many emails are there going to be ? What will I have missed ? I think by using my diary in a way that builds in the time to prepare for the break, by working backwards a bit, creating time to make sure I have prepared things and time to attend and catch up too. I also let other people know that I am not available and when I will be back. By being organised it helps to manage expectations of my service.
Now, I am clear on preparing and managing the time away, the next step is to enjoy it. There are so many benefits of a break but the main one is I find that I am generally more rested, this gives me more energy to be more effective within my work.
It can also help me with any blind spots, have I missed something, it can be hard to see it when you are immersed in it every day and by stepping away it can make things clearer.
I value self-care and for me taking a break, how big or small is so important for you mental and physical health. Most things we use in life need to be cared for, a phone needs its battery charged up, a car needs to have enough tyre tread, clothes need to be cleaned, the TV needs to be dusted. If these things are not looked after, then they either cease to work or are not as effective and the same is true of me.
I hope you are able to take a break, however, big or small it can make a difference.