Chill Out: How To Actually Relax On Your Vacation

Posted July 1, 2013 by Guest Writer in Life After Five

Summer is finally here, which means it’s vacation time for many hardworking employees. But thanks to today’s technology, you don’t have to be a workaholic to be constantly connected to the office. This can make relaxing on your vacation very difficult. (In fact, leaving the office for a week can seem like more trouble than it’s worth for some).

So, how can you “unplug” from work and give yourself a much-needed break? Here are a few tips for optimal unwind time:

Organize Before You Leave

Before you ride off into the sunset to grab your much-deserved frozen cocktail by the pool, make sure you’re organized at work. Here are a few things you should do before leaving for vacation:

  • Set your “Out of Office” auto reply
  • Tie up loose ends on projects
  • Answer all unread e-mails
  • Make a to-do list for when you get back
  • Clean your office

Another important thing to do before you hit the road is to make sure your colleagues and clients are aware you will be out of the office. Make sure you inform them when you’re leaving and when you’re planning to return so they can plan accordingly. The last thing you want to do is leave someone hanging (it’s not exactly the best way to build relationships).

Focus On Staying In The Moment

When you start stressing out about work, distract yourself by focusing on your current surroundings and appreciating the beauty around you.

“When your mind starts to wander, take a moment to draw your attention back to your current reality,” says Margaux J. Rathbun, B.S., N.T.P. of Authentic Self Wellness.

Find one thing in view that amuses you and focus your attention on it.

Put Your Phone On “Airplane Mode”

By disconnecting from e-mail, social media outlets, texting, and so on, you will find that it is much easier to relax and unwind from your work reality back at home.

Also, if you’ve got your work e-mail synced on your phone, disconnect it during your time off. It makes it much easier to stop thinking about work when it’s not buzzing for every new e-mail.

If you don’t trust yourself to completely unplug, leave your phone back in your hotel room.

Drink Up

Having a cocktail or two will definitely help you relax, but drinking plenty of water is also crucial.

“Staying hydrated is an important part of relaxing and feeling your best,” says Rathbun.”When you are dehydrated, you tend to feel anxious, irritable, or even tired.”

Try bringing a cute BPA-free water bottle with you when traveling. This will help you remember to always drink plenty of water.

Walk It Out

Studies have shown that exercising is a great way to reduce stress and help you relax. Rathbun suggests making a point of getting out and walking around for at least 15 minutes while you are on vacation.

“Do it first thing in the morning to start your day off on the ‘right foot’,” she says.

Clear Your Mind

If you are lying out on the beach or sitting by the pool, try clearing your mind of cluttering thoughts or “noise.”

Rathbun suggests putting in your headphones, listening to relaxing music, closing your eyes, and focusing on the word “relax.”

“If any unwanted thoughts come to you, acknowledge them and then push them away,” she says. “Just focus on relaxing and feeling the best you possibly can.”

Keep Notes

Often, I find that my best project ideas come to me when I’m not actually at work. So, if you are sitting on the beach, enjoying a frosty cocktail, and soaking up the sun when a great idea comes to you for work, write it down!

Allowing yourself to keep a notebook (or brainstorm book, as I like to call it), can actually help give you peace of mind while you’re away from work. When you’ve got an idea, write it down and get it off your brain so you can focus on enjoying time with your family and friends. That way, it’s available when you get back to the grind.

Don’t Feel Guilty

Hey, everyone needs a break from work, even you! Allow yourself to enjoy your time off. You need to give your brain a chance to recharge and refresh. That way, you can walk back into the office with a clear head, ready to take on your next project.


Ariella Coombs

Ariella Coombs, Guest Writer

Ariella Coombs is the Content Manager for She graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Follow her @AriellaCoombs

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