The Pre-vacation Pressure Cooker

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It’s mid December. Gold, silver and chocolate are everywhere. Seasonal music fills your ears. You can count down the days until you get off for Christmas, New Year’s, both, or maybe even everything in between. But somehow the stress usually gets worse right before a break. Welcome to the pre-vacation pressure cooker.

At this point, your energy is getting a bit lower, because it has been a while since your last vacation. You’re envisioning the freedom of sleeping and waking when you want to, seeing only the people you choose to and doing what you wish. But there is much to do first.

How you know you’re a grown-up

You know you’re a grown-up when the only way you can be ready to take time off is to work even harder immediately before leaving.

You need to pay extra attention to your regular routine while also assuring things will be in order while you’re away.

It’s like being braised for days in a life-size crock pot.

The office checklist

At work, you tie up all the loose ends you can before you go. Some of these loose ends are big ones, like turning in a final report. For situations you can’t manage ahead of time, you line up people to handle anything that comes up in your projects. You brief these people and give them all the necessary documents to fill in for you. You write down exactly what they should do and when, and you talk through the instructions with them.

You report back to all the other parties involved that So-and-So will be covering for you while you’re gone. You pass along the phone number and email for So-and-So. And then you just hope for the best, knowing something may ultimately keep all this from working according to plan.

Nitty gritty travel prep

If you will travel during your break, the preparation at home seems even more endless. Figure out who will pick up your newspaper and mail, or stop delivery while you are away. Line up someone to care for your pets, water your plants and keep an eye on your empty house. Let this person know where you’ll be and how to reach you, if, unfortunately, it becomes necessary. If you’re leaving the country, notify your credit card company so they won’t mistake your purchases for fraud.

Figure out what you will need to pack, and be sure the clothes are all clean. Go shopping for anything missing on your list. If you have children, repeat this process for each one of them.

Make sure you will look your best while away. Schedule a haircut.

Check your supply of medication so you won’t run out.

If you’re traveling by car, have your vehicle serviced ahead of time

At the winter holidays, load up on gifts, wrap them before you leave, and figure out how you’ll transport them.

It only seems impossible

We’ve all gone through periods like this where it seems we will never have everything done in time. But the operative word here is “seems.” Eventually you will stop gnashing your teeth and muttering under your breath all day. You will get through it all.

One day, you’ll find yourself not just dreaming of choosing the books and music to enjoy on vacation but actually dipping into them. You’ll wake up in the morning and not have the work-a-day rush ahead. That’s when you’ll know that you’ve survived the pre-vacation pressure cooker.  Take a deep breath.  Relax.

(Thinkstock image)

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