When my business was young I had trouble checking out and taking time off.
(Would my clients get mad? Would balls drop? Would it be TWICE as hard and stressful to come back??) and LOTS of stress that started about a day or two before I came back about the avalanche that was waiting for me upon my return.
The stress of taking time off didn’t make sense to me, so I spent quite a bit of time figuring out how to take the time off that I needed without the stress that I certainly DIDN’T need.
But first of all, I want to hear from you:
- Do you find it hard or stressful to take time off?
- Do you dread what’s awaiting you when you return?
- Do you find it hard to enjoy time off because of guilt or stress?
- Does the night before work feel hard for you because of a knot in your stomach? Are you afraid to take time off? Are the first few days back LONG and on fire?
Here are some of the tools I’ve used in the past to get to stress-free time off and a gentle re-entry at the end:
1. DON’T: Neglect to be fully transparent about when you’ll be out of the office, where to go to get what they need in your absence, and what to expect when you return
DO: Give dates that you’ll be gone, the person in charge if they need help while you’re away, and what they can and can’t expect in your absence. Also, remind them what support they can use instead of you for self-sufficiency, for instance, I reminded the women in my two group programs that they have EACH OTHER, and while I’m out they can turn to, support, and get wisdom from each other. It builds community and reminds them of their resources.
2. DON’T: Disregard your own boundaries. With very few exceptions, once you’re clear about what clients can and can’t expect from you, don’t go back and pop in, become available, or override your boundaries out of guilt or fear—it’s confusing to clients and can result in them not fully trusting you to say something and keep your word.
DO: Practice strong boundaries and check for impulsive actions that come from fear or guilt.
3. DON’T: PACK your first day back. If you’re been stressed and fearful about checking out, you might try to do ALL the things and be 100% available the first day back. DON’T- it will negate ALL the peace you found while away, PLUS, it’s fear-based behavior, which is always a sign that something is mis-aligned and needs to be explored further for you.
DO: Set up a light first day back. I generally leave the morning empty to go sit in my coffee shop and catch up on email, respond in my groups, and write to you guys—things that help me feel caught up and reconnected. I’ll do a client session or two in the afternoon, after I’ve settled back in and moved slowly through the morning.
- How many of these did you do coming back from your holiday vacation?
- What would you add to the list?
- Can you implement these in SMALL pieces for your next weekend?
- And then fully for your next vacation?
We’re talking about this over in Tribe—come tell me your answers! <3