I’ve a journey developing, and the holiday guilt has already set in. My youthful sister is getting married, and in my household’s tried-and-true style, it’s a DIY affair. She’s making her personal multi-layer cake, we’re in control of the décor (rustic, mountainy stylish is the chosen aesthetic), and considered one of my fellow bridesmaids even made her personal costume (!!).
Needless to say, whereas I’m grateful to join with my household and I’ll be embracing the chance to step away from my screens with open arms, I’m not anticipating my most *stress-free* trip to date. And although I don’t have plans to nap poolside (although the bachelorette will contain a few sun-soaked hours of stand-up paddling), it’s not being obtainable that’s the reason for my trip guilt.
While it isn’t a widespread, standardized phrase, it’s possible that we’ve all felt trip guilt earlier than. In our hyper-connected, always-on world, the expectation to be responding and producing always is actual. And coming as a shock to completely nobody, our lack of ability to (bodily, mentally, emotionally) disconnect from our work comes with a host of dangerous results.
Talk of an impending ‘Great Burnout‘ is spreading itself all through the media, and in a survey performed by the American Psychological Association, roughly 3 out of 5 workers surveyed reported experiencing detrimental impacts of work-related stress. Decreased motivation, dwindling ardour and curiosity, and diminished power ranges.
So a guilt-free trip? We’re clearly in want.
Featured picture by Kate Holstein.
With a slightly selfish motivation, I got in touch with NYC-based therapist, Kathryn Lee, for actionable suggestions that anybody can use to banish trip guilt as soon as and for all. A key reminder to kick us off? According to Lee, setting wholesome, agency boundaries is essential to experiencing relaxation. Let’s get to the holiday guilt-free good things.
How can we strategy guilt in a compassionate, productive means?
Any stage or type of guilt will be difficult to expertise. As Lee says, it’s a highly effective emotion. If you’ve skilled guilt (in fact, all of us have), you’re acquainted with its very visceral, dominating weight. And although it is perhaps tempting to ignore, bottle up, or push away, Lee encourages the alternative.
“Acknowledging and naming the guilt is the first step in moving through it. Once you have done that, explore and process the feelings underneath the guilt.” Reflect and ask your self:
- Are you nervous in regards to the penalties chances are you’ll face?
- Do you’re feeling liable for one thing?
- Do you’re feeling that this makes you lazy, unhealthy, or disorganized?
It’s vital to do not forget that these emotions of guilt, although they could seem as deeply-rooted, inner truths, “are triggered by a message or even repeated messages that we’ve received at certain points in our lives, careers, or relationships,” notes Lee. Kiss your internal critic goodbye (truly, give them a light, however agency push out of your psychological area), and substitute that narrative with curiosity, kindness, and self-compassion.
What steps we can take beforehand to help our future selves unplug as much as possible?
This is where boundaries come into play. Nipping vacation guilt in the bud is a great way to practice setting strong boundaries with your tasks, inbox, and coworkers. To ensure these boundaries are respected, Lee emphasizes that it’s important to communicate them ahead of time to your colleagues and manager.
“Let your team know if you are going to log out from your work email, mute work-related chat conversations, and/or have limited WiFi,” Lee suggests. Express your needs with your team: Is there a project you could use support on while you’re out? An account that a coworker may need to take over temporarily? “Equip and provide them with resources in the event that an emergency arises.”
But remember: Oftentimes, what might seem like an “emergency” isn’t life or death. Trust that issues can be taken care of while you’re gone or once you return. “After you’ve set your boundaries,” says Lee, “it is up to you to maintain the boundaries you’ve implemented.”
How can we set boundaries with people who don’t respect our own?
Dealing with a coworker who continues to reach out despite your automatic OOO email reply? Many of us have been there, and it can be tempting to dive back in and help out. But Lee shares a crucial distinction in taking a positive approach: “While we can’t control our coworkers’ behaviors and actions, we can control our own.”
Now’s the time to double down and express those boundaries kindly, but firmly. And if feelings of guilt crop up, Lee reminds us that these boundaries aren’t just for you—you set them in place to support your team as well.
“Boundaries are the space in which we can respect and care for ourselves and each other.”
“Respond to your coworker when you can and have the capacity to,” says Lee. “Begin by first validating their concerns. Then create a plan of how and when you can address the issue again.”
Even with unlimited PTO policies, vacation guilt happens. What mindset shifts can help release feelings of guilt?
There’s so much tied up in the concept of vacation guilt. Lee cites the pressure to strive, the belief that it’s easier if we do things ourselves, and the all-pervasive, harmful narrative that we have to “work 24/7 to earn our worth, a promotion, or our manager’s favor.”
“Taking time off means a break in that narrative. Often, we need to do the inner work to feel more at peace about taking time off.”
Therapist-Approved Mindset Shifts to help Beat Vacation Guilt
Lee shares the following mindset shifts that can set you up for success on vacation and beyond.
- Good work is not rewarded by rest. Rest precedes good work. Rest is productive. We cannot produce good work if we are depleted.
- Release control. There are things you cannot control especially when you are working with a team. Let go and trust that you and they are competent to respond to situations that may arise.
- You cannot please everyone. As much as you may like to, it’s impossible. Prioritize you and your needs instead.
- Perfection is impossible. Everything might not be tied in a neat bow for your departure, but remember: that’s okay.
If a vacation isn’t in the cards, how can we reduce stress while continuing to work?
Desperate for a break but can’t make it work? The good news is that there are small, simple ways to lift a little of the weight from your shoulders. With whatever time is available to you, even if it’s only five minutes, Lee suggests creating dedicated space to destress. “When we are stressed, it can be difficult to make decisions, slowing down our progress.” Taking a walk, listening to music, incorporating a few mindfulness practices into your schedule, or even physically separating yourself from your work can help you reset.
And don’t forget to approach your weekends as they’re intended to be spent! Lee encourages investing “in activities that you enjoy and give you life. Think about one thing you can do for your body, one thing you can do for your mind, and one thing you can do for your soul.”
A stress-free vacation awaits.