How to Truly Detach from Work During the Holiday Season: Wellness and Balance

A collection of laptops, tablets, and phones reminding us how hard it can be to disconnect from work

A helpful reframe is redefining what it means to be productive. If you align yourself with work to the point where you feel driven to earn rest, you’re already setting yourself up to fail.  We need to be able to think of time away from work as a recharge. Rest, socialization, and exercise are important parts of being healthy and give us the fuel we need to be productive. If we spend our rest time feeling bad about not working or checking slack/email/work calls, it doesn’t recharge us the way we need. If any of this sounds familiar, here’s some things to remember this holiday season:

  1. Rest does not need to be earned. You either take the time for your wellness, or your body will take the time back with illness. Work stress has a major impact on your immune system and taking time to rest and manage stress in healthy ways will not only keep you feeling better, but it’ll help you use less PTO for actually being sick so you can spend it on what you enjoy.
  2. Pushing through without stopping is not going to improve your performance, it’s going to burn you out. Your work performance is a marathon, not a sprint. Taking this time to recharge, rest, and focus on other important things in your life will actually increase your productivity.
  3. When we focus all our attention on work, we drop the ball on other things. You are a human being with other important things in your life like relationships, hobbies, interests, families, and health. Be mindful of what you’re willing to sacrifice for work, our time and energy are finite, you don’t have the ability to give work, home, and family all 100% all the time.

Once we’ve thought about these truths and decided to make some intentional time away from work, we can use some of these skills to detach:

1. Make a schedule ahead of time when you will be available and when you are off work and try to stick to it. Off times don’t include accessibility (i.e. staying away from being “reachable”, checking emails, turning off your work phone). 

2. Prioritize. Figure out what else is important outside of work and spend time focusing on that (i.e. family, friends, pets, passion projects, travel, volunteering, etc). 

3. Invest in wellness. In the off work times, do things that will contribute to your productivity of wellness and let yourself feel proud of accomplishing these things (rest, sleep journaling, meditation, exercise, art, music, sports, etc). It can be helpful to make a checklist or even a calendar invite for yourself for these things as well so they are held as just as important as work tasks.

4. Change your environment. Environmental cues can make it difficult to relax and detach. You might find yourself having a hard time not thinking about work if you’re sitting in the office that you typically take work calls in. Change the scenery, get outside in nature, go to a coffee shop, give yourself a new place to recharge. 

5. Get Bored. Time with family and intentional time by yourself to reflect and do nothing is not the same. Give yourself time and space to get bored, boredom breeds creativity. 

Detaching from work doesn’t just give you time and space to relax, it helps support a healthy well balanced lifestyle and will actually increase your ability to perform well and have high productivity at work. Giving yourself permission to detach may be the best gift you can get this holiday season. 

December 4, 2022
December 17, 2023
 Published by: 
Shannon Williams