When was the last time you took a real, stress-free vacation? We’re talking at least a week or more somewhere else where you didn’t spend all your your time working?

As a new business owner, it can be hard to take vacations, especially in the first couple years. When you’re the only one running the show and you don’t have any passive income streams set up yet, it might not feel like an option.

But taking a stress-free vacation in the early stages of your business is not impossible. You can — and even need — time off to recuperate and recover from your hard work, even if you’re not making your target income or hit your client goals.

It’s all about balance.

So many solopreneurs are obsessed with their hustle, but this obsession can take over and stop you from doing the things you love — like travel.

Remember that this is a journey, and part of this journey is taking care of yourself — which includes having a life outside of work.

So if you want to reward yourself with a vacay in the first couple years of business, listen up.

5 tips to help you take a stress-free vacation from your business

1. Plan ahead. Spontaneous trips are great, but when you’re going away for longer than a day or two, you’ll want extra time to plan. Planning ahead means knowing how long you can sustain your finances and what type of vacation you can afford. Look at the calendar and see what key dates will be missed when you’re gone. What will you need to do now in order to prepare?

2. Automate where you can. Luckily, even if you’re a one woman shop, you can automate many things in your business. Social media posts, blog posts, newsletters, invoices and bills can all be automated. Make a schedule and prepare in advance. Put the right systems in place so that the day-to-day activities can be handled without your presence.

3. Set expectations. Let clients know ahead of time what dates you’ll be out and give them as much leeway as possible. Ensure any client contracts aren’t going to be disrupted. When you give people extra notice, it’s less of an inconvenience. If you need to put in a few extra hours before you leave to make clients happy, it’s worth it for maintaining business relationships.

4. Choose what you’ll let go. Look at your regular responsibilities, and make a “not do” list for the time you’re out. List anything that can go by the wayside that won’t drastically affect your business. This could be networking events, free sessions, website updates or anything that is not vital. When you choose what you won’t do, you’re less likely to stress.

5. Give yourself permission to leave your work. Once you’ve set up your plans, communicated to your clients, and automated what you can, let yourself off the hook. The most creative ideas come from the time we spend away from our desks. Vacations and time off in a new place can do wonders for your brain, body, and energy. Put on your out of office and have fun!

If you follow these steps and take the time to prepare yourself and your business for being out of the office, you can create a stress-free vacation and smoother transition to work once you’re back.

Once you take your vacation, you’ll be glad you did, because when you come back you’ll feel even more inspired, creative, and ready to hit the ground running.

Are you taking a vacation this year? What’s one thing you’ll do in advance to prepare?

Originally published at createcoachingconsulting.com