7 Tips for year-long workaholics struggling to take breaks


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I’m just returning from my vacation and this timeI actually enjoyed it. As a freelancer then a co-founder of a startup, I understand the guilt and anxiety of taking vacations. How could I step away from building up my business and career?

Here’s what snapped me out of it: workaholics are more vulnerable to a loss in mental and physical health, and are less productive. If you think about it, vacations are a work necessity. If you have trouble loosening up, here are some tips that helped me let go during my cruise:

1. Go on an adventure

Cross a destination off your bucket list. Make the most of your vacation and go somewhere you’ve always wanted to go. This will be a great incentive for you to be fully present and you’ll more likely enjoy your stay.

If you’re worried about the intricacies of planning out your next vacation, here are some apps that’ll come in handy before or during a trip:

2. Create your itinerary

Whether abroad or in your own city, make plans that you’re excited about. It’s a great way to put your work ethic to good use.

If you decide to stay close to home—explore. You don’t need to go abroad to have a great time. You’ll be surprised at how many hidden gems you’ll find nearby. Fall in love with places near you.

Keep in mind that it’s easy to turn your vacation into another project. But don’t forget that you are planning for the sake of potential fun and relaxation. It’s okay to miss a few events or not do any at all. Don’t turn your vacation into a chore.

3. Spend time with friends and family

All those times you couldn’t hang out because you were working? Now you have no more excuses. Reconnect and strengthen your bonds with the people that you love.

Studies show that socializing with other individuals “produces feelings of happiness, reduces stress, anxiety, and depression and even improves cognitive function, quality of life and longevity.”

Extroverts aren’t the only ones who benefit from social interactions, either. If you’re an introvert, smaller group activities like board games and sharing a meal produce results, according to the National Institute on Aging.

4. Turn off all your tech

Some of my favorite things about technology and the Internet:

  • They make things easier and faster
  • They help you connect to your friends and family
  • They’re an endless source of knowledge and fun

So yes, I totally get your attachment to mobile devices. But while on vacation, you need to let them go because:

  • It’s easy to slip and check your emails and notifications
  • They keep you from being in the moment
  • Cell phones can be a source of stress and anxiety

You’ll be surprised by the freedom you feel when you leave your phone at home or simply turn it off. When you turn off your phone, you turn off the ability for outside stressors to reach you.

5. Meditate and do some yoga

You might find that a lot of anxiety comes from overthinking. One major obstacle to relaxing during my downtime are my own thoughts. If you haven’t tried it yet, start or end your day with deep breathing techniques and some basic meditation.

Meditation quiets your mind, and yoga can help you reconnect with yourself. Studies show that long-term practitioners of yoga and meditation are happier. These resources will get you started on your yoga journey:

You might feel silly the first few times you meditate. You shouldn’t—plenty of billionaires meditate on a daily basis as well. Take comfort in knowing that Oprah Winfrey and Jeff Weiner, are two of the many celebrities that meditate daily. Here are some apps that can help you with your daily meditations:

6. Go outside, desktop warrior!

The sun gets a bad rep, but studies show that getting a daily dose of sunlight has many psychological and physical benefits. These  include improved mood, lower blood pressure and even a decreased chance of breast cancer.

Sometimes it’s the little things that make all the difference. Take a walk, or sit in a park. It’s your vacation.

7. Take more vacations

Being overworked isn’t a proud badge to bear. Burnout is a very real thing. Stressed and overworked people are less productive, and isn’t that counterproductive?

Make your mental and emotional health a priority by treating yourself to getaway weekends and time off when you need it. Go away and come back refreshed and more productive.

Live as hard as you work

Remember why you work as hard as you do. Try to take the tips from this list and incorporate into your daily life to some degree. You are doing yourself and your workplace a favor. So take care of yourself and go have some fun!

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