The end of summer is over. What has the highlight of your summer been? Sure, go on…relive that moment now.

For me it happened last week while in the San Francisco Bay Area after doing a training on Influence and Friction-Free Relationships for a company. I took off a handful of days to go mountain biking in Lake Tahoe and then visited with my two oldest friends – healthy organic food,lots of laughs, supporting one another’s direction.

Most of the time I was able to be ‘off’, but there were still some moments that thoughts about work still made me feel ‘on’.

Does that happen to you too? Is it a challenge to stay present and relaxed during your free time or when you are on vacation?

Those moments obsessing about work still exist but have become “fewer and farer” between for me (in particular, that’s why I love to mountain bike…I HAVE to be ‘out of my head’ and ‘in the moment’ if I want to return home in one piece!).

As the gates close on summer, and we face our last 3 day weekend to take off on vacation, here are some reminders to be able to enjoy your free time:

1) Regain control. Decide before your vacation what you expect yourself to do/not do, and also communicate that to colleagues. Do a brain dump and write down everything in your mind, then make a plan for how to tackle the overwhelm when you will do the work. Don’t do the bad compromise of saying you will hang out with family but then not be present. Instead, create clear boundaries of time and space between when you are doing your free time and when you are doing your work. Do a brief routine or visualization that helps you decompress and mark your transition from one to the other.

2) Amplify your positive sensations. If you are with family members and friends you love, amplify your feelings for them. Fill your mind with the things you love about them. Fill yourself with gratitude that you have such opportunities to be away from work, that you have people you love, that you have the degree of health you have, etc. Those thoughts will crowd out and put in perspective your overwhelmed thoughts.

3) Learn meditation. In the past months I’ve learned the meditation technique called Transcendental Meditation. I’ve always had a hard time ‘stilling my mind’ (some of you can relate!), but I find with this technique I am very easily and quickly able to get into a deep state of relaxation – more easily than with any other form of meditation. The benefits last throughout the day. You can read about its benefits in a recent book called Transcendence. I ‘feel’ noticeably calmer and present (ok, those of you who know me personally can weigh in here…).

4) “Get over” your perfectionism and procrastination. Are you the kind of person where everything needs to be done first (and perfectly), before you can relax?

Are you needing to do work on your free time because you put it off during the week, and now the deadline is approaching?

Perfectionism and procrastination are different but often have a similar root cause. You can get rid of them quickly and permanently, click here to get started.

Author's Bio: 

Sharon Melnick, Ph.D. is a business psychologist dedicated to helping talented and successful businesspeople ‘get out of their own way’. Her practical tools are informed by 10 years of research at Harvard Medical School, field tested by over 3000 training participants and applied by hundreds of coaching clients to quickly be more effective, productive, and influential. She is a leading authority in helping business professionals move to the next level and be secure about their contribution in insecure times. /