It just works differently for different people! For example, I could never leave the office for a few days with an outgoing email that says! “I will be away from the office with little access to email, so I will get back to you on August 30.” That message actually fills me with anxiety! So, in addition to never actually informing the world of my plans to be away, here are my other ways to guarantee relaxation on vacation.
Prep your people No one can plan for every contingency (especially in PR), but try! Arm your co-workers with all the information they need to proceed without you while you are gone. In addition to giving everyone a status update on current client doings, you might also put someone in charge of checking your emails or calendar or voicemail (if you still get any voicemails!) I also make sure I’ve filed documents in easy-to-find files in case they need to be retrieved.
E but no T I will check my email at least twice a day and respond in a very timely manner. This checking in and checking off some requests etc. helps me stay focused on my trip and not on work. But, while I am happy to email you, I don’t want to talk to you (you, meaning anyone connected with work). That just breaks my vacay vibe altogether.
Be really well-planned I am all for spontaneity once I am in a city, but for certain elements of the trip, I want to be terribly buttoned-up. For example, if I learn of a great restaurant before I get to my destination I am all over Open Table (or its equivalent in other countries) reserving in advance. The same goes for a great museum exhibit or play, I will be sure to relax if I have some major “to-dos” done before I go. Caveat: there is nothing worse than being overplanned! Try to use a site such as Tripit to complete an online itinerary and keep it manageable.
Exercise! Walking around a city touring or swimming in a beautiful ocean does not, to me, constitute exercise. Whatever your regular exercise routine is, don your workout clothes and try to approximate it. In my case, I like to find the exact class I take at home in other cities! This is fun on so many levels and keeps me endorphin-filled and balanced for the duration.
Try to come back mid-day Sunday This is just ideal for me. Knowing that I will have a half a day or so to re-acclimate, open mail, do laundry etc. keeps me unconcerned during the trip and really ready to go back to work refreshed the next day.
Please share your “relaxation on vacation” tips – we can all use them!