3 Tips for Taking Guilt Free Time Off During the Holidays

December 20, 2022

Ashley Meyer

Ashley Meyer

The holidays are among us! Many of us anticipate a rich, celebratory time with our friends and family in the coming months.  

Out of office message on sticky note on the desk.

This blog is dedicated to ensuring we embrace that time rather than feeling low levels of guilt and anxiousness while taking PTO. There are more important things in life than work, and the holidays are a time for deep connection and fun with our loved ones. Here are three tips for ensuring a guiltless holiday PTO:  

Make realistic, prioritized work commitments.

Remember your holiday commitments as you lay out your plan for the fourth quarter (even at the end of the year it’s not too late to make that plan). Your future self will thank you for being realistic about what you can accomplish for the remainder of the year.

It can be tempting to cast a huge vision for finishing the year off strong- but if we over-commit, we’ll create stress that impedes on our holidays and sacrifices our quality of work. Your ability to enjoy the holidays starts with realistic, prioritized work commitments now.  

Be proactive about scheduling PTO.

Sometimes, our PTO guilt is exacerbated because we didn’t give our boss a sufficient heads-up. We can feel like we left our team without enough notice. If you haven’t already, request your PTO now. Cancel meetings that fall in the time you are out of office. Send your coworkers an all-day calendar invite to remind them when you are off. Finally, set up an automatic response to your emails. If you take the time to do these things, you won’t have to deal with the stress and worry that you left people in a bind or without enough heads up.  

Be fully present.

When you’re working, be fully working, when you’re with family and friends, be fully there. The most efficient way to live life is to do one thing, fully, at a time. During the holiday season, this is especially key. During work hours, get to work. Hustle, work hard, and don’t get distracted. Remind yourself that staying focused now will reward itself in a more relaxed and satisfying PTO experience.

We all know that wonderful feeling of relaxing after a hard day’s work. To get that, draw clear boundaries with your family and friends that when you’re working, you’re working. When with your family, put work completely away. Trust that you’ve planned this PTO and you are supposed to enjoy it. The benefits of time-off to time affinity and health are clear. Enjoy your time off, eat yummy food, play with your kids, hug your loved ones, engage in meaningful conversations, laugh loudly, and be undistracted. This is a choice you will not regret! 

Time off is a leaning into rest; the taking of a much-needed breath. The way we approach time off can drastically impact and affect how we enjoy it; how we re-engage and re-emerge re-energized. It is a moving towards something good for us, taking care of ourselves first and filling the tank so we can keep moving (when the time comes). There is something powerful about that “moving towards” as opposed to “running/escaping from”. 

When you’re done with this blog, find a quiet space. Shut your eyes for a few minutes and allow yourself to recall your greatest Holiday memory. After that, spend a moment thinking of one thing you are looking forward to, or would like to do (no matter how small. Write it down and plan on doing it. It could be ordering a Christmas coffee instead of your regular cup. Maybe it’s stepping outside for 2 minutes into the cold Christmas air (depending on where you live), taking a breath and speaking out something your thankful for. Maybe it’s a movie marathon with friends or putting your phone away with an hour and focusing on time with the family; whatever brings you life, even for just a moment. 


Refreshing perspectives and practical expertise from the Titus team.

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