Today’s Solutions: January 18, 2022

Time away from the office isn’t always as stress-free as it sounds. A 2018 survey from the American Psychological Association (APA) found that 21% of U.S. adults felt stressed during their time off and 28% worked more than they thought they would on vacation. In order to relax fully on vacation, psychology experts say your employer must respect that time off (and your boundaries) while you’re away. But no matter your situation at work, these six strategies can help you unplug — and find a little more R&R — while you’re on vacation.

First strategy: Share your plans with your boss and co-workers before you leave. By telling them what functions you’ll need to have covered while you’re away, you can eliminate the worry that something will slip through the cracks.

Second strategy: Do away with mindless clicking. The mere thought of work can lead you to check your phone often and drive up stress. To avoid this, set aside a small amount of time in the day to check your phone and leave it off the rest of the day. Or better yet, go somewhere without cellphone reception.

Third strategy: Spend time outside as much as possible. Nature is powerful in that it can force you to relax, so take full advantage of the outdoors — and soak up what you’re missing when you’re looking down at work devices.

Fourth strategy: Know how you relax best. Simply put, think about how you relax when you’re not on vacation, then make sure to integrate those activities into your days. Whether it’s strolling through a museum, taking a cooking class or learning to sail, an activity that engages your mind is beneficial to de-stressing.

Fifth strategy: Be spontaneous. If you only have a few days in a new place, you might be tempted to plan out every moment of your time. But studies show spontaneity is one of the primary contributors to people’s happiness on vacation, so try avoiding the temptation to plan everything out. Sixth strategy: Plan your re-entry. Just like you plan for exiting work, be prepared to re-enter work. Schedule some time to catch up on emails or arrange whatever you need before you return to the workplace. Trust us, this will save you a whole lot of stress.

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