Sun, May 26, 2024

How to Spend Your End-of-Year Vacation

As we move through the first full week of December, we can begin to anticipate the end of the calendar year. Since Christmas Day and New Year’s Day fall on Sundays this year, many businesses are giving their employees the last week of the year off from work. In addition, most are also off on January 2, and many are taking days off in the week leading up to Christmas, particularly with Hanukkah running from December 18-26.

Therefore, many of us have anywhere from one to two weeks away from work at the end of the year. As business people, there are many productive ways we can spend these one to two weeks. Here are some suggestions of things you can do to best prepare for a successful 2023.

Unplug: I recommend all business people disconnect from their electronic devices during some part of their end-of-year vacation. While this may not seem possible for some of you, give it a try. It will give you a chance to really “get away” from your work and better allow you to do some of the other things I recommend below.

Unplugging has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, improve your sleep and deepen your relationships with family and friends by interacting with them in person. As an executive or business owner, you may think unplugging is impossible, but that is not the case. Try it for at least 24-48 hours and see how it boosts your energy and ability to think.

Recharge: Unplugging from your electronic devices will help you “recharge your batteries.” This has been a particularly stressful year and you should take some time during your end-of-year vacation to do things that will increase your energy levels.

For some, that will simply mean getting more of the rest that you deprived yourself of as you pushed yourself hard throughout the year. For others, that might mean being busy, but instead of being “work busy,” it will mean throwing yourself into hobbies, travel, or the exercise that you have been neglecting.

You know the kinds of things that recharge you and they might be very different from what others around you need to recharge. You might just want to lay around, read, listen to music, or binge-watch Netflix. On the other hand, you might want to build something or run a few miles. The key is to choose something that will best allow you to recharge.

Reflect: An important part of preparing for the year ahead is to reflect on the year past. Unplugging and recharging will help put you in a mindset to reflect on the year past.

You should use this reflection time to celebrate your accomplishments and provide yourself feedback on the things you could do better. Reflecting at the end of the year is not a time to beat yourself up over the things you see as failures or shortcomings of the year past. However, it is also not a time for denial of those things. Rather, as part of recharge and reset at the end of the year, be proud of what you achieved and identify the things that require work.

We often end one year and begin the next with “resolutions,” but rather than resolutions, we should reflect on how we are going to do things, rather than just resolve to improve them.

Here are some questions that might help you as you reflect on the year past and look to the coming year:

  • What accomplishments am I most proud of this year?
  • What skills and traits did I develop and improve to make those accomplishments possible?
  • What other people played a key role in helping me achieve those accomplishments? (see “gratitude” below)
  • What did I not do as well as I could have during the year?
  • What did I learn this year, particularly about myself?
  • What challenges do I still need to learn how to overcome?
  • What character trait or skill would I like to develop more?

This is just a sample list of questions you can ask yourself. Feel free to add, delete and edit these to provide yourself with a productive session of reflection.

Gratitude: Do not end your year without giving thanks. No matter how bad you feel your year has been, many others have had it much worse.

Be grateful for what you have and the blessings that have been bestowed upon you. While not all people have been good to you this year, there are many who have. You should be thankful for them, as many of the good things that happened this year would not have happened without them.

Before the year is over, reach out to them and thank them for being an important part of your life and the successes you have had. Experiencing gratitude will help you recharge and reset, and ready you for the new year.

I hope you have a great end-of-year vacation and take the time to reward yourself with some rest and reflection. It will help make 2023 even better!

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