How to Unplug from Work When You're on Vacation

In the era of push notifications, reliable wifi, and remote offices, learning to actually disconnect from work has become a lost art.

Even if you manage not to check your emails or answer calls during vacation, you might still end up spending your well-deserved time off in a mild haze of work-related anxiety.

This is totally normal, but before you give up and resign yourself to sending emails poolside, just know: it is possible to unplug from work on vacation. All you need is the right game plan.

Read on for five smart strategies that’ll help you unwind and make the most of your time off.

How to unplug when you're on vacation

1. Let people know you’re leaving

You don’t need to announce your departure to the entire office, but it’s important to talk to the people you work with on a regular basis to let them know you’ll be gone.

Send emails to your clients and co-workers, then schedule a brief meeting with your manager to go over projects you’ve already completed, as well as projects you plan to tackle once you return. 

2. Make a post-vacation to-do list

Before you leave, compile a list of the most important tasks you need to do once you’re home, along with concrete, actionable steps you can take to complete them.

A detailed post-vacation to-do list accomplishes two things: it frees your mind during vacation and helps set you up for productivity once you’re back.

3. Set an automatic out-of-office reply

An auto-response email is a key to a worry-free vacation. It saves you the hassle of checking your inbox while keeping all your contacts in the loop.

Make sure your out-of-office message includes the dates you’ll be gone, as well as critical details like who to contact in your absence or how to get in touch in the event of a work-related emergency.

4. Disable push notifications

You don’t want to be bombarded with random, potentially unimportant messages when you’re trying to relax. The incessant stream of pings and beeps coming from your phone will just leave you feeling wired and anxious.

On your trip, turn off all email and social media notifications, plus any news alerts you subscribe to. If you’re feeling brave, go a step further and turn your phone on the “Do Not Disturb” mode; that way you can respond to texts and calls at your leisure.

5. Try new activities

One of the best ways to unplug from work is to actively seek out new experiences.

Pick an activity you wouldn’t ordinarily do at home, whether it’s reading a new book, taking a cooking class, or exploring the local scenery. Getting out of your routine will take your mind off work and force you to be present. Plus, the more fun you’re having, the less likely you are to feel distracted or stressed.


I'm Paige, freelance health and lifestyle writer, editor, and perpetual optimist from Southern California. When I'm not crafting stories, I love to read, travel, and get sandy. Want to know more about me? Visit my site:

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Paige Smith

Paige is a freelance health and lifestyle writer, editor, and perpetual optimist from Southern California. When she's not crafting stories, she loves to read, travel, and get sandy. Want to know more about her? Visit her site:

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