The holidays are already upon us. As we tie up loose ends at work and ready to bid adieu to our desks, the kickoff to winter break and kicking our feet up comes ever closer. But while we imagine that we’ll be hanging out fireside in Fair Isle sweaters, the reality that awaits us is usually less R&R and more run by work. While the week or two ahead of us is meant to be time spent with family and loved ones—taking a break from our busy lives to gather and share the holiday spirit—it’s too often consumed by demands and pressures that don’t let up just because you’re out of the office.
To avoid having your holiday break besieged by the compulsion to check your work email and worry about the projects looming over your head, there are a few simple rules to keep in mind to better your break. Just in time for your time off, Inc. rounded up a list of steps to follow to successfully unplug over the holidays. Study up on our favorites and commit to them before you kick back for break, to ensure your time off is spent healthily relaxing and recharging for the New Year.
Lay sound ground rules. It’s important to set clear—and realistic—expectations for yourself before heading into the break. Consider how often you should be checking in on work emails, if at all, and commit to that allotted time, being sure never to exceed it. This will remove the pressure of incessant checking, and as long as you communicate with your co-workers, you’ll find your brief check-ins are enough to tackle anything important that might come up.
Refrain from setting work-related goals. As the time for making resolutions approaches, it can be easy to slip back into work mode. Make a rule to refrain from work while you’re on break and focus your time off on the family and friends in your company. Even outlining career-related goals for the New Year will get your mind back into office mode, and you’ll find yourself more stressed or back on email.
Abandon electronics. One of the most important ways you can force yourself into a work detox over the break is by limiting your time with electronics. Putting away your laptop and reserving your phone for organizing plans with family and friends will greatly reduce your thoughts about work and the inevitable stress and pressure that come with them. Truly unplugging over your days off will give you the mental space and clarity to focus on what matters most, recharging you for the work ahead once we’re into the New Year and you do have to head back to the office.