1 Leave work at work. You have done what you could to finish up before the week started and there are still people in the office,workshop wherever it is you work, who are able to cover for you. So let work remain where it is and not come home with you for this week.
- If you're really inclined to bring work home, lock it into your filing cabinet or tinkering cupboard at work and give a co-worker the key. Tell them to give the key back to you only when you return to work.
2 Look for ways to unwind properly. Your first impulse will naturally be to ask yourself, 'What can I do to start relaxing?' You may be surprised, but this is actually the wrong question to ask. Instead, ask yourself, 'What should I not do to relax?' First, if you are going to unwind, you shouldn't be planning a lot of activities. Try just vegging around home. Watch that movie you've had sitting by the TV for weeks now. Finish that craft project you started six months ago. Sit back and read a book. Just do what you always want to do but don't have time for.
- Go for walks in your local neighborhood. Reacquaint yourself with things that have changed while you've been too busy to notice at work.
- Spend time with kids. Kids know how to relax innately and following their lead is a great thing to do!
- Spend lots of time with your pets. Pets will relax you a great deal, and it's a good excuse to catch up on missed playtime.
3 Understand that isolation is key. If you feel stressed out by co-workers and friends, take a break from them. Yes, do the unthinkable. Turn off your phone (this includes cellphones!), and don't check your work related e-mail. Resist the urge to 'just look' at what people have sent you. You want to avoid things that stress you, and since you never know what is written in those emails, play it safe. Don't read! Or better yet, don't even check.
- Spend more time away from the computer, even if you usually like to use it for relaxing. The rest from constant interaction, typing, and thinking will do you the world of good and you'll be more likely to get through your reading piles, neglected hobbies, and new recipes if you use the time wisely.
4 Get away from it all. If you're tired and worn out from the fast-paced city life, try something else for a while. Go camping in the woods, go fishing, or just go for a drive down a quiet road. Go somewhere where you feel calm and relaxed.
- Perhaps your parents or someone you know have a farm or a cottage you can go to for complete relaxation. Bonus points for a place that has no internet or cell phone connection!
5 Occupy your mind. Keep you mind on things other than work so that you can distract yourself from any work concerns. Also try to forget any family or friend problems that might be occurring in your life. Think only about things that make you feel happy. Remember, this week is about you; don't let anyone else - or thoughts of anyone else - ruin it for you.
- Do puzzles, crosswords, and play board games. You'll enjoy the different sort of intellectual stimulation they provide and discover that they are really relaxing at the same time.
6 Pamper yourself. Take some time out to treat your body as well as seeking to relax your mind. Some great ideas include:
- Get a massage, or have several.
- Visit a day spa.
- Have a new haircut.
- Take lots of luxurious baths.
- Sleep in.
7 Calm your worries about your personal development trajectory. When you've been working really hard, you can end up feeling as if you're neglecting the "rest of your life" in favor of work needs. One way to quell your concerns in this respect is to do a little planning and organizing of your personal life so that it runs more smoothly and so that things actually happen when you return to work. For example:
- Use some of the time to chase up hobbies, sports, and fitness classes you haven't gotten around to organizing yet. The flow-on benefits from putting this in place when you're relaxed will be long-lasting.
- Call friends you've neglected for a while and catch up for an easy get-together like a movie or dinner out. Plan to stay connected.
Remove clutter that has been hampering you in any way, shape, or form. If you can't be bothered, at least organize someone else who can do it for you
8 Realize the benefits of time off from work. You will be refreshed, your body gets to stand, sit, lie down, and move in different positions from the usual. Your mind gets to stop staring at screens, fine print, manuals, wrenches, whatever, for the whole week. This week will help to restore creativity, improve your thinking and sense of perspective, and it will restore your energy levels. Work will benefit from the relaxed you, so don't feel bad about taking time off!