I’ve recently got back home from my two week long holiday. Going on holiday for a week or a couple of weeks is pretty standard for a lot of people, but the idea of going on holiday that long initially made me feel anxious. I’m someone who much prefers weekend breaks – Say Thursday through to Monday at most – because I don’t like to feel out of the loop of work. In fact all my holidays in the past I have regularly checked my work emails just to see what’s going on while I’m away. Most of the time I wouldn’t respond to any of those emails, I would just read them and think about what I would do to action them when my holiday was over. Except it wasn’t quite that easy – I would spend time thinking about those emails and dwelling on their content pretty much throughout the entire holiday, day and night. I was just completely incapable of disconnecting from my work emails.
Going on holiday never really felt like a holiday, it didn’t really feel like a break either. If anything I just felt guilty for taking time off from work. I knew this wasn’t healthy and I knew this had to change.
The day I set my out of office on, I made the decision to delete all my emails from my phone and IPad. I knew if I didn’t delete them, I would instinctively check them and therefore they had to go. I also knew that once I deleted them I wouldn’t go through the effort of downloading the apps or signing in through a browser. I also asked my colleagues to not contact me about work related issues (although they’re pretty good at not bothering people on leave in the first place, so on that front I feel lucky).
At first I felt a little anxious about not being able to see what’s going on. My mind would always jump to the worst possible scenarios relating to my clients. Being rational about it, I knew none of those things would ever happen and that they would be completely fine without me for a couple of weeks. If there was anything urgent, I know my colleagues would pick them up and resolve the issue.
After a couple of days my mind calmed down. I put this down to the fact that my holiday wasn’t one of those international holidays where you lay on a beach and reach for colourful cocktails all day every day and burn to a crisp, but rather a road trip around the North of England and Scotland. I was constantly engaged and actually had very little time to think about work.
Reviewing my emails this morning, it turns out I barely missed a thing and I had nothing to worry about, as I expected. Ultimately overcoming my fear of missing out at work has lead to me feeling more refreshed, positive and energised than I’ve felt for a long time.