Four Practices & Rituals for Better Time Off

vacation Nov 12, 2022

The Holidays are often synonymous with time off, whether it’s a few days, a week or more. That doesn’t necessarily mean they are relaxing: as we discussed in our last post “Be Thankful for Boundaries this Thanksgiving”, they are a source of stress and self judgment for many. 

One common source of stress is the knowledge that work is piling up while you are away. That can make it hard to be present, as your mind wanders to your inbox, your projects, or what will be waiting for you when you get back. Today’s post explores the routines and rituals you can implement before taking time off to help you fully disconnect and enjoy your time off. 



Practice #1 - Prepare for your absence

Sometimes it feels like just making it to the start of your time off takes everything you’ve got. The problem? It can cost you valuable time and focus when you return. What were you working on again? Where do you need to start? What are the priorities? That’s why we love to spend a bit of time preparing before our exit. Here’s how we do it (and you can steal our template here):

  1. Prepare a project & document inventory - Spend a few minutes documenting what you are currently working on, and your current status in the project. Link any relevant documents you’ll need to reference. 
  2. Capture any pending follow up items - Do you have emails you didn’t get to? Meetings you didn’t schedule? Other tactical elements you need to remember? Put them on the list as well.
  3. Jot down top priorities - Spend time thinking about where you’ll want/need to focus when you return, and write those down.
  4. Block your calendar - Block the first 60-90 minutes when you return to go through your project & document inventory, as well as your priorities. Scan your inbox for anything urgent that occurred while you were away, and think through how this might shift your plan. Review your calendar for the coming week, and make any adjustments to allow you to be effective. 
  5. Set your out of office - Remember to let people know you’re not available, and what they should do if their request is urgent. Ideally, it’s reaching out to someone else.

You can do all of the above in 30 minutes, and it will be worth every bit of time you invest by setting you up for success when you’re back, and giving you peace of mind while you’re away. 


Practice #2 - Get rid of distractions

If your goal is to be present and enjoy your time away from work, there are a few steps that you can implement to keep distractions at bay. Here are some of our favorite tips to stay connected and in the moment.

  1. Turn off notifications - Remove your device’s pesky “blings”, they take you out of what’s happening right now. Turn your device off, turn it to silent, or turn off do not disturb. 
  2. Log out of anything you don’t want to spend quality time with - Turn off automatic email refresh for your work email, log out of news websites, social media, or whatever else you tend to get distracted by. 
  3. Leave your devices behind - Practice putting your phone in a completely different room. If you must have it to take photos, put it on airplane mode. 

For more tips on how to set yourself up to be present, check out this blog post on how to Digital Detox


Ritual #1 - Practice being intentional

Our workdays are not the only place we can become reactive to the world around us. It can happen during our time off as well. Practice being intentional by starting off each day by setting an intention for what you’d like to experience and how you’d like to feel. The ritual of setting an intention can help us stay aware and conscious of the ways in which we are (or are not) aligning to our intent. Examples of an intention are:

  • My intention for today is to genuinely connect with my family and have some analog fun
  • My intention for today is to cultivate a feeling of calm and ease in all that I do
  • My intention for today is to tune into and act on my needs


Ritual #2 - Practice gratitude

Actively practicing gratitude helps us be happier and more resilient. Incorporate gratitude in your day by reflecting on the big things, and the small things you are grateful for. Examples of how you might do this:

  • Invite everyone you are with to express what their favorite part of the day was while sharing a meal.
  • Express gratitude throughout the day. Recognize people for things you appreciate and share with them how those things made you feel.
  • Journal 1-3 things you are grateful for at the end of each day. 

Regularly practicing gratitude helps you look for things to be grateful for throughout the day, how wonderful is that? 


Whether you celebrate holidays or not, these practices and rituals can help you navigate time away with presence and ease. Go ahead, set yourself up for mindful time away! (and remember to download our vacation wind down resource)


Join our free workshop on November 17th at 4pm PST!

Navigating the Holidays with Space & Ease

 An action packed hour that will help you learn how to:

  • Set an intention for the holidays
  • Get more of what you want, and less of what you don't
  • Plan ahead to set yourself up for success
  • Set up time boundaries

Don't miss it!


Want more? 

So many of us struggle with feeling like we never have enough time to do everything we need to do, AND be present for those we love. We are so overworked and overwhelmed that when moments of connection come, we struggle to be present. Being present for what matters in our one precious life is something we care a great deal about at Mindfulness Incubator, and it’s why we designed our upcoming program: The Time Boundary Blueprint for Busy ProfessionalsOur goal is to help our community build actionable tools to create space, build time boundaries, defeat overwhelm and be present for what they care about. Our Time Boundary Blueprint program is short and to the point, sharing only tested, proven methods that will have real and immediate impact. Join us, and we promise you’ll get every minute invested back in multiples! We launch November 30th and will have limited space, so make sure you get on the waitlist to be the first to know when registration opens!


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