How to step away from your business and ACTUALLY enjoy your holiday
How to step away from your business and ACTUALLY enjoy your holiday
There’s a time when talking two weeks off for the holidays would have freaked me the eff out.
Actually, it wasn’t even that long ago.
Just last year, Brian and I were packing up, getting ready to head to Iceland for two weeks around Thanksgiving (a trip that had been on my own personal vision board for ages!) and the fear was creeping in.
If you’ve been in business a bit, you’ve probably had a glimpse at those thoughts as well...
...will there be clients when I get back?
...are people going to be angry that they get an autoresponder when they email?
...do I need to bring my computer with me?
...will this be the DEATH of my business as I know it?
It’s funny how quickly those thoughts can snowball into ones that are totally and completely unreasonable if you let them. If I’m being honest, I wasn’t doing the mindset work to manage those thoughts at the time either. I was indulging in them and letting them consume me.
And well, that’s enough stress and anxiety to not want to go on any vacation ever again. (Not exactly the desired result of time away, huh?)
But I also know that there’s another way.
With the holidays approaching, I know for many of you that means stepping away from work to spend time with family and friends.
We’re headed toward warm weather this year to spend time with the family, and for me, that means I’ll be doing my very own jingle bell jog along the beach in San Diego on Christmas day.
Vacations can be an amazing time to rest and recharge. They’re an opportunity step away from work, get out of the routine of daily life, and really be present with your current experience.
But for entrepreneurs, vacations can also be a source of a lot of stress, anxiety, and guilt. Because when work is such a huge part of your life, stepping away, and actually feeling like you’re taking a BREAK can be a struggle.
I’m a strong believer that it doesn’t have to be that way. The holidays can be a time of relaxation and joy, leaving you feeling more fulfilled and successful when you come back to work.
Keep reading to learn how to change your mindset around your holiday vacation and truly enjoy your time away without sacrificing results, even if your business is your number one priority.
Put it on the calendar
Girl, get that holiday time on the calendar and commit to it. I typically plan time away anywhere from two to six months in advance so that it’s on my calendar and I make them a priority. This means that I won’t push it off or decide it isn’t a good time when life or business gets busy. If it’s on the calendar, it’s as good as done. This also gives me the ability to schedule my workload and client expectations around those dates, because when you’re your own boss, you have control of your schedule.
Budget for it
The holidays can be a time of big spending and the stress that can come along with that. The cost of airfare skyrockets. There are gifts to purchase. And you know I am absolutely going to need a peppermint mocha here and there. But worrying about money during the holidays can completely strip the joy of being away, which is why I like to budget for it well before the holiday season. You better believe I’m that girl on the phone with her folks in August asking what we’re doing for Christmas this year.
Budgeting doesn’t exactly sound sexy but the RESULTS of budgeting can absolutely be a game-changer for your stress level by helping your to approach holiday time with an abundance mindset (“there is plenty to go around”) rather than a scarcity mindset (“there will never be enough”). But there are also some practical actions you can take once you’re in the right mindset.
I use YNAB to set aside gift- and travel-only funds, but you can also set up a high yield savings account through Capital One 360 and they’ll let you have up to 25 separate savings accounts so you can keep your rainy-day mullah and vacation savings separate. When you know the funds are there, you don’t have to think twice about whether you really need that stocking stuffer from Sephora or worry that you won’t be able to invest in that coach you’ve been dying to work with. Get it girl.
Let your clients know you’ll be away
Give your clients a heads up that you’ll be away and what your boundaries are concerning holiday time. Chances are they’re going to be enjoying their own time with friends and family so this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Nonetheless, how you handle this will likely depend on the kind of work you do and if you’re working solo or have a team. Typically, I recommend sending an email at the beginning of the month, letting them know that you’re taking some time off during the holidays and asking if there’s anything they’ll be needing during that time so that you can prioritize it before you leave. If you have a team, this could also let them know who the point person is in your absence and what they can expect from that person. Establishing clear boundaries sets expectations on both sides so you don’t feel guilty when that email comes through while you’re away. Put that autoresponder up and enjoy.
Create content ahead of time
Just because you’re taking some time away from your business doesn’t mean it has to feel that way to your audience. Writing content (newsletter posts, blog articles, Instagram captions etc.) before you head out, can alleviate stress while you’re away. There are so many software platforms such as Later, Hootsuite, and Planoy to help you automate this process and do the posting for you. So relax and let your content do the work while you sip that malbec and watch the snow fall.
Set boundaries around screen time
If you’re taking time off around the holidays to be with family, chances are you’re going to want to BE WITH FAMILY, right?!? This is why I like to set boundaries around screen time while I’m away. You can scroll Insta and Facebook when you’re back in your day-to-day life. It will still be there. Decide that you’re going to post and check-in for 15 minutes at the end of the day and hold yourself accountable to your own boundaries. Grandma’s spotty wifi is actually a gift, allowing you to put the phone down and take a give your mind a REST so you can come back with a clearer perspective, more energy, and ultimately experience more GROWTH.
I know, easier said than done. It can be hard to turn your brain off entirely and not think about work AT ALL when it’s such a big part of your life. But I also know that the guilt you feel while being away isn’t doing you any favors. By giving your mind a break from all those thoughts that are weighing you down, you’ll be able to come back to your day-to-day with a fresh perspective, more energy, and better ideas to build and grow.
So the next time you feel those thoughts creeping in, give the 5-4-3-2-1 method a try. This relies on the senses, sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste, to get your out of those negative thoughts and back to the present. Start by thinking about five things you see around you. Next, four things you can hear, three things you can feel, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. You can read more about it here, but it can do wonders to keep those thoughts from spiraling and allow you to actually enjoy your time away.
The bottom line
As an entrepreneur, taking time away from work is necessary to rest and recharge so that you can avoid burnout. And taking that time, when everyone else is doing the exact same thing, is actually a gift. Feeling guilty about stepping away isn’t doing you any favors because it’s hindering you from giving your mind the rest it needs to come back to work refreshed and ready to grow even more. Put boundaries, systems, and strategies in place so that you can set expectations. Cultivate the right mindset so you view this time away as an essential part of being a business owner that actually leaves you with more results, not less. By doing so, you’ll feel more positive and productive when you return, better able to pour that energy into client interactions, content creation, marketing strategies, and more.
Tell me in the comments below:
How are you enjoying your time away from work this holiday season?
Photography by Jennifer Morgan Photography