Today I found this piece from the New York Times on How to Take a Real Vacation.
Before you say, "Duh!" the article is directed at small business owners. When the business is your baby, you may disengage reluctantly, if at all. However, I have found that aspects of academic life (for example, running a lab) can be comparably difficult to leave behind.
One recommendation I have is to check email periodically. Huh? I do not leave all the gizmos behind?
Nope. How else would I tweet my vacation photos and work on Pretty Cocktails?
For me, going through emails a couple of times a day is reassuring. I became convinced of its value once my husband got a smart phone. Up till then, he made fun of me for staying even a bit wired during time away from the office. However, his mood became increasing irritable as the return to work loomed closer. Just knowing that a week away could mean 500 items in his inbox screwed up his mood. The trip home became quite painful as his level of dread rose.
Taking 5 minutes 2 or 3 times each day to clean out his inbox has made our breaks much more relaxing. Quick questions are answered, and those FYIs get deleted. That 2 hours of digging through messages that may no longer have relevance is gone.
Seriously, you can do this while you use the toilet.
Some people may get more anxious if they do not completely disconnect; for us, this strategy works best.
What vacation relaxation techniques do you find useful in the academic (or not-so-academic) life?