When I was employed as an Activity Director in long-term care, it took a lot of effort and time to arrange my vacations. At first, I found taking a vacation more stressful than not having a break. I had to be sure all my charting was completed, all the activities were covered, materials were in place…it was a lot of work! In my many years in the position at a variety of facilities, I did learn a few things that made it easier. And, I became a much healthier, happier person. Those ideas were shared here.
Once I became self-employed, solopreneur many of the same issues occurred,There were significant difference. Who needed informed changed. How I approached being gone changed.
- Plan your vacation/conference before you plan your calendar. Informing clients of breaks prior to collaborating on a schedule save you the hassle of needing to reschedule. Plan a little extra time in your schedule the last five days leading up to vacation to accomplish items listed below.
- Clean the house/office before I leave.While it is extra work on the front side, it makes it one less thing to do when I return home. Plus it makes for a better re-entry.
- Identify sessions that need to be ready as soon as you return. Knowing who you will be serving your first few days back will inform your session planning needs.
- Plan those sessions for at least the first two days back. It will make you more effective as a therapist. It also allows you to make the best use of items 5 & 6 on this list.
- Set aside time prior to leaving to complete charting, buy/create materials, remind clients you will be away. Leaving with your charting complete is key. Don’t trust your memory banks to remember what happened your last day of sessions. Chart it before you leave. Purchase or create any items needed for your first return day sessions. Trusting you’ll have time to do it when you return can lead to issues. And, be sure you remind clients you will be away at the last session prior to being gone. No need to interrupt your vacation/conference by panicked folks wondering where you are.
- Organize your materials for your first day back. where possible. In addition, try to set aside time in the schedule for personal items including sorting mail, paying bills, unpacking, and taking a nap. Sometimes it means saying no to someone or something.
- Ask for help. Having a partner or a neighbor help with a few shopping, creating visuals, wiping down instruments can save you time.
- Plan for the unexpected. Have phone numbers for possible issues helps when the flight is cancelled, a tire is flat, or someone is ill. By planning for potential issues, you’ll experience less stress if the unexpected happens,
- Arrange a treat for yourself that first week home. Maybe it is a bouquet of flowers, a special meal, or a massage, having a treat that first week back seems to ease the jump back. While it may not be a “work” item, it helps the bridge back to work schedule seem a little more manageable.