7 Ways To Maintain Work-Life Balance While on Vacation

To work or not to work: that is the question. Surprisingly enough, an overwhelming percentage of Americans end up working while they’re on vacation. If boundaries are not set in place before you take your much-deserved time off, you may find yourself logging into your accounts during your approved PTO or responding to coworkers who continue to reach out to you for work-related questions.

To start with, it’s important to realize that the idea of a perfect work-life balance is a myth. Attempting to schedule your life so personal and work responsibilities are perfectly equal is a waste of energy. Instead of trying to achieve perfect work-life balance, focus on maintaining a healthy relationship between work and life. Understandably, that is becoming more difficult with the increasing popularity of remote work and the ability to be in contact with your coworkers at any time.

During time off, it’s particularly important not to let work consume your mental energy. If you’re unable to disconnect enough from work, you could return from vacation feeling just as tired as you did before you left home! For this reason, you need to be realistic and allow yourself to focus energy on hobbies, relaxation, and loved ones during your getaway. Here are seven ways to maintain a work-life balance while on vacation.

Shift Your Mindset About Productivity

Just like people need variety in their diets to stay healthy, people also need variety in how they spend their time. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you need to be “on” and productive every second; it’s okay to rest and just be sometimes, too!

Every employee needs to take breaks—especially time off—to maintain energy for the long haul. Spending a varied amount of time working, sleeping, eating, relaxing, exercising, etc. is essential to setting yourself up for success. Shift your mindset and determine to enjoy a vacation without trying to accomplish as much as you can.

Commit to Wellness Improvement During Days Off

Why commit to a healthy improvement of work-life balance? Rest. Rested workers become more productive people. Taking advantage of a vacation completely free of work is essential to reducing stress levels, preventing heavy burnout, and strengthening relationships with family members, close friends, or significant others.

Book that time for yourself, and don’t worry about disrupting workflow or creating a backlog of work. With proper planning, you can enjoy time away without burdening others or fearing a heavy workload when you return home.

Take Care of Your Mental and Physical Health

Committing to personal time and taking time off helps you mentally and physically recharge. Otherwise, overworking yourself will prevent wellness improvement. While on vacation, clarify what your priorities are and keep close tabs on mental and physical health first and foremost.

Poor health stems from the neglect of healthy habits; try to remain aware of your main mental stressors and strive to remedy pre-trip mental exhaustion. Let go of lingering worries about work obligations or post-trip concerns. Mindfulness is key to treating your mind and body right—try meditation, gratitude practices, movement, and physical exercise. Above all, prioritize getting adequate rest while on vacation. Sleep is essential!

Streamline Your Calendar

Planning in advance is another way to ensure you maintain a work-life balance while on vacation. To maintain a healthier balance, you need to be able to turn off work mode and tune into something other than your job. As soon as your travel arrangements are set, make a plan for finishing up primary tasks, handing off work, and determining who is responsible for urgent matters in your absence.

Say No

Speaking of control, be assertive in taking all the time and freedom you can while away from work. Firmly and politely say no to avoid any big surprises or accidental misunderstandings during vacation time. Let your boss or colleagues know that you will not be available during your getaway and cannot answer emails.

Set out-of-office messages as reminders to inform others you are not available and who they can turn to for questions or emergencies. Saying no beforehand prevents the development of an unhealthy cycle and helps you maintain boundaries, allowing you the freedom to enjoy fun in the sun, a change of scenery, or a simple break with loved ones.

Prioritize Being Present

Don’t be tempted to bring a work computer with you if you have one. Instead, only take personal tech devices without access to your work email or other communication applications. Maintaining a good work-life balance on vacation means both digital and physical disconnection from work.

Give yourself breathing room—you can also turn off notifications or temporarily change settings to avoid seeing any work-related emails or text messages on your smartphone. This separation is key to ensuring you’re fully present in the moment, right where you are.

Completely Unplug From the Outside World

Cutting ties with the outside world by digitally unplugging can prove beneficial for burnout recovery; you can relieve heightened stress levels and revel in the extra space you’ve created for fresh ideas and thoughts. Unplugging can be as simple as turning off your phone each day and reading a book or practicing a new hobby or sport.

Stay Plugged In for Play, Not Work

That being said, don’t be afraid to immerse yourself in the benefits of a tech-savvy country if technology helps you relax. Enjoy the convenience of technology and the internet during your time off from work, no matter where you travel. Staying connected with reliable Wi-Fi or data helps you stay safe and enjoy the true comforts of home away from home. Don’t worry about creating the perfect schedule for your vacation, either. A healthier work-life balance is achievable over time, and this trip is only the beginning.

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7 Ways To Maintain Work-Life Balance While on Vacation