It's a holiday, a vacation day, a sick day or maybe you just need a little mental health day. Great. In order to get the highest return on investment on your time off, and truly give yourself the mental, physical, and spiritual benefits of a true day off, you have a bit of work to do. And it's likely not the work you think.
1. Decide to truly take the day off.
Make a decision about what taking the day off actually means, and then stick to it. If you're "taking the day off" but the whole time you're "off" you're thinking about work, checking your phone, sneaking away from the pool to check the status of that one thing--kind of taking the day off--you likely haven't made a real decision. If you're really going to take the day off, and get the true mental reboot, you're going to want to decide to do so. Really decide.
2. Give yourself full permission.
nce you've decided to take the day off, take it--in a guilt free zone. Give yourself full permission to enjoy, check out, disengage, whatever you need. You work hard for your money, let your vacation work hard for you. First step, full permission to enjoy. (If there is something that just absolutely needs your attention, decide in advance what exceptions you'll make. For example, I will check email at 3:00 pm today for 30 minutes can free up your mental head space and give you guardrails to lean into while still having full permission to unplug.)
3. Get gratitude.
How great is it that you can take the day off? Start the day with a gratitude ritual thanking yourself for taking the day, being grateful that you can take the day, and thanking anyone (even just energetically) who's contributing to you taking the day off. (Your family, colleagues, employees, etc.) Gratitude is an instant energizer and will only amplify and clarify the energy of taking the day off.
4. Set intentions for what you want to get out of taking a day off.
Just because you're taking the day off doesn't mean you take intentions out. What do you want to get out of taking the day off? What are your intentions? Do you want to feel physically rested? Mentally rebooted? Reconnected to yourself? Reconnected to your relationships? Do you want to feel inspired? Being intentional about what you want to have happen on this day off will impact how rested and recharged you feel coming back. Even the intention of conscious disengagement, "I intend to veg out, binge watch movies, live on popcorn, and give my brain an absolute break" allows you to lead your day off, being conscious of how you want to use it so you get even more out of it.
5. Create a trail back so you know what you're doing on your first day back.
This is ideally done the day before your day off, and sometimes it has to happen the day of. If you find yourself having a hard time "unplugging" or consciously disengaging because you're concerned you'll drop the ball on something, lose momentum, or simply not know how to re-enter productively when you come back, leave yourself "breadcrumbs" to guide you back. A list of "next steps" or "do this first" on a post it, on your calendar, or written on a pad of paper on your desk to welcome you back can free you and that beautiful brain of yours up to relax even more and trust that you'll come back brighter and stronger than ever, after your day off.
Then go. Be free. Enjoy. Reboot. Consciously disengage. And when it's all said and done, acknowledge yourself for a day off well done.