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Truly unplug from work this holiday season


family, work, home

With 24/7 access to the office and a never-ending "to do" list, some people have a hard time disconnecting from work. Flexible schedules can enable many employees to get through their tasks remotely, but sometimes work-related duties cut into weekend and family time - and the holidays. People who have demanding jobs and employers with high standards can find it difficult to set time to be away from work. For many, this leads to greater stress at the holidays. However, it can benefit both employees and their bosses to stop working and be present with family and friends: Here's how you can more easily cut ties with the office for a couple of days this year:

Hold yourself accountable
You have dotted every "i" and crossed every "t" and ensured that all your responsibilities are handled. Maybe even your boss told you to enjoy the holiday. If that is the case, you have to make a concentrated effort to switch off. Just because you can check work email or do a bit more on that project in any place at any time doesn't mean it's a good idea. Forbes said you need a concrete plan to switch off; consider leaving your work-related devices physically at the office. If you really can't stop using your online accounts, ask your team to change the passwords for the holiday weekend and then to reactivate when you return to your job.

Additionally, if you remember to set an out-of-office automatic email response, you literally send the message that you are not going to work for the time specified. This signals to coworkers, vendors and clients to hold off on questions or projects, and you won't feel guilty for not jumping on every incoming email. The Muse advised taking some time to craft replies that communicate your plans to others. Be pleasant, indicate the days you will be away, and close the response reminding the recipient that you will get back to them upon your return.

Take a relaxed and honest approach
If you know that you need to sneak a peek at your inbox over the holidays, don't whip out your phone at the dinner table or as soon as all the presents are opened. Instead, set some quiet time aside - and not in the middle of a celebration  to check in. This can be particularly helpful if you are out of the office for an extended period of time. While it is not likely that important messages will come in over a national break, it may help you relax if you can set aside a moment or two just to see what's up. In that vein, Inc said you need to set your own rules about checking in with work. If it is entirely unrealistic for you to unplug completely for the whole holiday period, then don't promise everyone that devices will not appear in your hands. You will feel disappointed and frustrated if you break you own rule, the source added. So, be relaxed. Be honest with your family and let them know you may have to check in, and communicate that it won't cut into any important time together. If everyone knows what to expect, you can mostly unplug worry-free, and people will not feel neglected by your work-related needs.

The most important part of holiday gatherings is to be present with others. Don't sacrifice special time with loved ones because you are paranoid about your inbox. Plan ahead if you need to check in, communicate your plans with your employer before you leave for your break, and let everyone know if and when you will have to take a moment to check in. It is possible to find balance in the midst of the season, and as such, these may be the most enjoyable holidays yet.

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