As a team of fellow publicists, we can relate to the fact that PTO, or a paid time off, can feel like a mythical beast in the PR world. No matter how many exotic vacations, serene staycations, or cozy holiday trips home we book, it’s a not-so-secret fact that the time that is meant for relaxing and recharging often winds up incorporating some modicum of work. PR is in our blood, so feverishly sending emails as the plane gears up for takeoff, or keeping one eye on the growing red dot over your email icon as your family dives into Thanksgiving dinner can start to feel standard.

With the holidays quickly approaching, we wanted to take this opportunity to remind all of you hard-working PR peeps that taking your well-earned time off to truly unplug is essential to bringing your A-game when you’re back at the office. PTO can be a real thing, even for you – yes you! Not sure where to start? Check out our tips below:

Prepare Accordingly

No matter how crazy the homestretch leading up to your time off, taking the time to comb through each of your projects and list out every loose end will not only put your mind at ease, but ensure your team is fully informed on anything that may come up while you’re out. Whether delegating to fellow account team members or a trusted colleague in another department, be sure to assign an owner to each responsibility, and ensure everyone involved is in the loop. We know your brand(s) are your babies, so if a babysitter-style list of emergency contacts helps you look forward to your vacation with even more ease, have at it!

Make Space

Out of sight, out of mind isn’t just a cliché. Once you reach your destination, whether it’s a chaise lounge on a white sandy beach or the comfort of your own couch, it can be highly effective to keep your phone in a completely different room or location, especially in those first few hours or days when withdrawals are the strongest. Be sure it’s tucked away somewhere safe and easily accessible in case of emergency (even if that emergency is snapping the perfect Instagrammable sunrise), but going cold turkey from alerts and notifications will wean your brain off the screen.

Nix the Notifications

Are you concerned you won’t be able to resist, or that you’ll need to use your phone for practical reasons while off? Smartphones have this very simple yet effective feature that, in our opinion, is wildly underused. The process varies from iPhone to Android, but for most it’s a simple dive into your phone’s settings and flick of a switch to de-activate notifications for whichever apps cause your eye to twitch and your stomach to churn. Yes, even email. Since these apps will still be accessible you may still feel a slight urge to check occasionally, but we think you’ll be surprised at how much zero notifications will lessen the urge.

Know Thyself

At the end of the day, no two publicists are the same. Some define unplugging in the most literal sense of the word, while others feel distinctly more at ease having some sense of what’s going on back at the office. If you fall into the latter category, take some time before your trip to set a limit to yourself for how many times you’ll check in each day. Without a set of guidelines, it’s all too easy to get sucked into the vortex of fire drills that most likely can be handled by someone back at the office. Especially when they know you’ll one day return the favor!