From the outside it might seem like I am on vacation a lot - friends and family hear me talking about travelling, they see pictures of me on the beach or in the mountains and postcards from all over still light up my grandparents' faces. Having travelled quite a bit in recent months, people are wondering, how I fit in a full-time job next to all that excitement, other projects and social life on top. Having the absolute privilege to work from anywhere, even I felt like I would definitely not need a vacation. From what would I need to take a vacation? I genuinely enjoy my work; I get to see places, friends and family; I live and breathe AMELI 24/7 - and that’s where it is becoming challenging.
Before taking a good two weeks off, and by off I mean: no emails, no slack, no „just quickly replying to a comment while having dinner“, I was constantly on. While juggling life (And we all know, that, in truth, next to work, it is sometimes just a little bit more than we can handle), no matter what I was doing there was always work in the back of my mind, no matter who I was with or where I was. Checking slack and emails the second I open my eyes: Of course. Having dinner and just quickly commenting on the current post: Will not take more than a minute. Missing a call, while I am having a barre class in the evening: Disappointing. And the harsh reality of it is, that there was only one person who expected it to be that way: I did. I mean in all honesty, who wants their team to think they're a slacker?
When going on my first real vacation, Christina made me delete my slack. On the spot, in the meeting, off I was. It was strange. I hated it. And it annoyed me. But it was also so needed. I could tell that the week before, while pushing through meetings and projects, my body fell into a fight-or-flight mode and my perspective narrowed down. The creativity that usually comes easy to me, when having brainstorming sessions with the team, felt used up. So, while naturally, I felt like the timing for my vacation was off - so many big projects are coming up and so many opportunities I want to make a reality, it was exactly what I needed.
I learned that if the energy out is greater than the energy in, there will be a problem somewhere down the road. And that this has nothing to do with you not giving it a hundred per cent. Especially, when your schedule and the to-do list are so full that you might feel like there is no time to look after yourself, it is exactly when you need to put yourself at the top of this list and create the room you need. Most importantly taking some vacation reminded me of the beauty of working in a team: there will be someone that has your back and until you return - refreshed, balanced and slightly sun-kissed.
So trust me when I say: Sometimes recharging offline and eating the chocolate-filled croissant is the best gift that you can give to yourself and others.
Personal tips and tricks to master your holidays like a champ
Before the holiday:
There is no one fits all solution. What helps others de-stress before the holiday, might cause you more stress. Remember, not everything needs to be perfect. It’s time to throw that word out of the window and simply enjoy the present moment.
- Prioritize all urgent issues and hand over everything else. Remind yourself that there is no need to leave with a completely empty inbox or an empty calendar. Business as usual will move on even if you are not there. Prepare as best as possible and trust in your team. (You all just want the best outcome!
- Log out of all work-related services on your phone. Log out of all work-related services on my phone. Waking up with emails, Shopify sales, Slack messages? Not during the holidays.
- Not everything needs to be perfect. Life is not perfect. Say it again and again and tattoo it mentally on the back of your head. It is time to throw the word perfect out of the window and enjoy the present moment.
During the holidays:
It might take a few days to fully accustom your brain and body to the new “holiday routine” (a change in routine is always slightly scary), but once you are settled your focus becomes clearer, your heart relaxes, your skin clears up and your sleep improves.
- Trust your team and go and stay offline. It might be hard to fight in the beginning, but your job satisfaction, energy, health and creativity will thank you.
- Sleep and rest. Holidays can feel like you have to do 100 things and see 100 more. Remind yourself: this is your holiday and rest comes in many forms.
- Read. Preferably the silly book that has always been on your reading list, but you are afraid to read because even the books you’re reading back home need to be profound.
- Treat yourself. In our daily lives, we often struggle with saying no to other people, because we care about them and their needs. Often a simple “yes” to someone else can mean a “no” to your own wishes and needs. The holidays are there to break out of this pattern and put yourself first. A gelato at 10 in the morning? Hell yes!
After the holidays:
Returning to work can be overwhelming and scary. It’s like a jump into the cold ocean. But it’s an ocean you know how to navigate.
- Don't panic. The last day before the holiday can be a scary one. On one hand, you want to enjoy your holidays till the last minute, on the other hand, your head is already planning for the first day ahead. Try to surround yourself with people that calm you down, get some movement in, meditate and treasure the days that you had while mentally preparing yourself for work.
- Again: You are not in it alone. Schedule some time for you and your team to bring you up to speed. And take our words: It will all be just fine.
- Take your time. No one expects you to catch up on everything in the first hour. Use your new energy wisely and take everything one step at a time.