4 Habits From Vacation That Will Help With Work-Life Balance
I took two weeks off at the end of August because I was burnt out. I couldn't remember the last time I took a real vacation and I also couldn't remember the last time I hung out with myself long enough to know if this is how I wanted to be living my life.
In the last 12 months I'd:
Started a relationship, travelled internationally for the first time + then for a second, ended a friendship, taken a hustle solo (hello CE fans!), given my fourth talk at the UN, started writing more, joined a co-working space, reconnected with some old friends at the perfect time, started/stopped/promised to start again with exercising, started eating healthier, had two health scares, started taking up space, started talking and writing about taking up space, had a fight that helped me heal and started planning a move.
The list could go on, but the fact is that this is the exact reason I needed to figure out if 4 months away from 25, I actually liked where I was, who I was and who I was surrounding myself with.
So often we're all just so thankful to be along for the ride that we forget to ask if we want to be on it, or at what cost we're sitting there. I was tired of feeling like everyone around me could have their own non-negotiables, especially when it came to the parameters of our shared relationship or time, but for some reason I couldn't have mine.
I don't like shifting blame, and even when I bring this up in therapy, I talk about how I feel like I'm finally standing up for myself and making my voice heard. Both actions aren't a reaction to someone else putting me down or quieting me (at least not entirely), a lot of the silence and fade into the background mentality came from me. I was doing it to myself in ways that were so habitual that I didn't even notice.
These 4 main takeaways from vacation are helping make sure I don't slip back into those habits.
Adding myself to my calendar
Towards the end of August, I'd been running on pure will power when it came to sitting through meetings or coffee dates or dinners. I love having conversations with people but there comes a time when I've scheduled myself out too thin and have failed to leave any time for myself. Lately, I'm trying to make sure that every day there's a piece of time that's just for me and no one else. I'm adding it to my calendar the way I would any other important event.
During vacation I read two books and started a third. It made me want to write. It's important that I want to write and that reading gets me there because otherwise it all just feels like a chore. The ability to get lost in someone else's words makes it much easier for me to learn what my own voice has to say.
Learning to prioritize, because no I can't do it all
I'm way too willing to negotiate my time with anyone, as long as I feel like I'm making their life easier. Towards the end of the work week right before vacation, I'd made plans that I couldn't possibly keep...unless I bent over backwards to make them happen. My back hurt and I was short on time, so instead, I admitted that I couldn't do everything I thought I could and I cut myself slack for not being able to do so.
Turning off email notifications on my phone (never going back)
Even though I put my OOO up at the beginning of vacation, I didn't turn off notifications on my phone until a couple of days in, but once I did the difference was so noticeable. I looked at my phone way less because there wasn't a vibration prompting me to do so. I was also less stressed by the things people needed from me and the sense of urgency they injected into their subject lines. Not having email notifications meant that I could (and would) respond to all emails when I was at my computer next for work time, it wouldn't seep into my private time.