Written by Courtney Lynch

Vacation season is here. Who doesn’t love time off, a little space, and the opportunity for a lot of fun? While good times are just that, it can be challenging for many to quickly go from 60 to zero. As professionals, we spend most of our days focused on action items, deliverables, meetings, and projects. While we look forward to time off, it can be unsettling once it arrives.

If you find it challenging to transition to vacation mode, you’re not alone. Here are some best practices that will help you in making space for fun:

Create a “get ahead” list. While it’s common to make a “to-do” list of all that you need to take care of before you leave, challenge yourself to imagine the actions that will allow you to feel ahead before you go. Maybe it’s cleaning your desktop, purging some files, or polishing off a report that’s due weeks after vacation is over. If you leave ahead, it’s easier to relax.

Get your reminders ready. Set yourself up for a successful return to work. Place strategic reminders in your calendar for your first week back in the office. This allows you to let go of nagging thoughts and the fear that you’ll forget something while away.

Practice being in the moment. When you are on vacation, seek to stay in the moment as much as possible. Not only will this contribute to enjoying your time to the fullest, but it will also help keep you from checking email and letting your thoughts wander to the office. Be here now is a great mantra to keep top of mind.

Have a “no to low” meeting day on your return. Plan to on-ramp back to work by creating the space to do what’s needed on that first day back. Limit meetings and appointments, allowing yourself time to reply to emails, review work from your team, and return more peacefully to your routine.

Summer days slip by quickly. When it feels challenging to make time for fun, that’s likely when we need it the most. By intentionally making the space for time off, you’ll get full advantage of the rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation it provides.

Founded in 2004, Lead Star is the company behind New York Times best-sellers SPARKLeading from the Front, and Bet on You. Lead Star supports professionals to reach new levels of success through an innovative coaching program, Year to Rise.