Feeling Guilty for Taking Time Off? Don’t.

Posted on: August 4th, 2019 by Jen Mueller

So much for feeling guilty about time off last month – or the fears that went along with it.

Turns out the fears were unfounded and the time away was needed for the craziness that ensued after my return.

I haven’t had time to post my best vacation photos yet. I’ve given six presentations in the last two weeks, incorporated the start of Seahawks training camp into a schedule that already includes daily Mariners television coverage. (Pro Tip: the best way to beat jet lag is to keep yourself busy enough you don’t have time to be tired.)

Here’s why I’m especially grateful for the frantic pace the last couple weeks – because going on vacation stirs up a lot of insecurities. I worry that taking an extended break will kill my mojo and somehow reflect poorly on me. It sounds ridiculous, but I don’t think I’m the only entrepreneur or driven professional who experiences the worry and guilt of a vacation.

See if any one of these “what if’s” sound familiar:

What if I can’t recreate the magic? Preparing to step away from my computer for two weeks is no easy task. As a result, I’m uber productive in the days leading up to vacation. So what are the chances I’ll be able to recapture the creativity, magic or inspiration?

What if I enjoy it too much? I might step away from my normal routine and I enjoy myself so much I won’t want to come back to work. Then what?

What if people think I’m not working hard enough? My reputation as being a hard-worker could take a hit if I’m not in the office for two whole weeks.

The days following my vacation helped prove worrying about these “what if’s” was just a waste of time.

Not only that, but from a leadership standpoint, it’s hard to be a leader if the only thing you ever see is your desk and things right in front of you. Time away from your desk, allows you to gain a different perspective, see things from a new point of view, engage with other people.

Vacations can help you see the bigger picture and that’s the kind of vision great leaders need.

If you want to feel guilty about something on vacation, then lament the fact you had two croissants for breakfast every morning instead of just one or that you didn’t get enough naps in by pool.