DR. E. CAROL WEBSTER’S
E. Carol Webster, Ph.D.
Original Copyright © 2005
Summer is here and it’s time to take a break. While there’s nothing sacred about vacationing in the summer, many businesses slow down this time of year so it tends to be a good time to get away. Vacations are still the best way to combat stress and it takes a while to unwind if you’re a classic workaholic. One week is great. Two weeks are even better, since both your body and your mind need a chance to relax and then to rejuvenate. But, as you look at all the stacks of work on your desk, it’s very likely that you’ll make excuses for why you can’t get away. Another year will pass by and you’ll need an even longer vacation because your stress will be greater. So, stop the vicious cycle and take the break you need now.
Get A Grip on Guilt
It is not a sin to take time off. You’re not doing anything wrong. Even though your desk is piled up, your psyche is piled up even higher and you do yourself and your employer a favor when you tackle your work refreshed and alert, rather than worn-out and in a fog. People often spend more time, including overtime, to do the same tasks that they can zip through with greater ease and clarity once they’ve bounced back from burnout by taking a rest. So dig out that leave request form and prepare to get out of there!
Take A Real Vacation
Even though you may not have the money to take an elaborate vacation, make it a real one anyway. Visiting relatives doesn’t count. While these trips are fun, they typically involve a lot of work – emotional and sometimes even physical – that keeps them from being a good de-stressor. Staying home to clean or to paint doesn’t count either. This is okay to get things done that you can’t get around to while you’re working, but does not constitute a vacation. Try to get away if you can so you can escape the phone calls, bills, and junk mail that have a way of occupying your attention when you stay home. Even though these same things will be there when you return, you’ll have greater emotional energy to deal with them after a break.
Technology is a great help, but not when you’re supposed to be “off duty”. Leave the laptop home. Turn off the pager. Put the cell phone on silent mode if you feel compelled to keep it on at all. Try to remember how the world got along without you before you had all these instant connections to work and to other people. Unless someone is calling you from an emergency room, what’s so all-fired important that you have to interrupt your vacation to deal with it? Surely, whatever the concerns are, they can wait to get your attention until you return to the office or get back home. Put your friends and relatives on notice before you leave but, more importantly, make sure that youovercome those needs to feel important and in demand that drive you to stay plugged in while you’re supposed to be away.
Be A Bum
Any good workaholic applies the same principles of goal setting and task achievement to his or her leisure time. It’s not enough just to vacation. You probably feel the need to vacation with a purpose and with noteworthy accomplishment. Many sights must be seen, the best restaurants must be visited, and special souvenirs must be tracked down in order for the trip to be considered a success. This is what causes many people to come back from a vacation feeling more tired than when they left! Give yourself a break this time. Just bum around. See where each day takes you rather than plan everything in advance. Loaf in bed. Lounge by the pool. Stare at the sky. Sure, you may miss some sights. But view this as a reason to make another visit one day, rather than wear yourself out when relaxation is what you need right now.
Vacations are a great antidote for stress and burnout but you must ensure that you get the rest and rejuvenation you need. High achievers need to learn that it is a mark of success to recognize when you need to de-stress, so make plans to get away – even if only for a long weekend – so that you can keep your winner’s edge.
About the Author:
Dr. E. Carol Webster is a clinical psychologist consultant in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
She is author of the book for those dealing with the stress of success ―
Success Management: How to Get to the Top and Keep Your Sanity Once You Get There,
The Fear of Success: Stop It From Stopping You! ―
the book to help you overcome fears that may be holding you back in your life and career
The Private Practice of Clinical Psychology in: Voices of Historical & Contemporary Black American Pioneers
To contact Dr. Webster visit online at http://drcarolwebster.com or call 954.797.9766.
E. Carol Webster, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychology Consulting
Mailing Address: 7027 West Broward Boulevard, #262 Fort Lauderdale, FL 33317
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