For many of us, 2017 was a doozy, but we here at Brit + Co are ready to hit refresh in 2018! Follow our Hit Refresh series through January for new ideas, hacks, and skills that will help you achieve (and maintain!) those New Year’s resolutions.

Staying dedicated to your professional goals is admirable, but it’s important to take time to recharge too. In fact, studies show that making time for R+R can help you stay healthy, be more mindful, and even boost your productivity when you head back to work. Curious about how successful women see and use their downtime in an age where burnout runs rampant, we surveyed eight women who have already scheduled time off in 2018. Scroll on for the six ways they plan to use their break from business — plus what they believe they’ll get out of spending time away.

A group of friends laughs together

Make the Most of a Life Milestone

Maggie Germano is a certified financial education instructor and financial coach for women. She spends her time helping provide support and tools to help ladies take control of their money, break the taboo of discussing debt and income, and achieve their goals and dreams. A business owner who started her company as a side hustle, Germano is busy — and now she’s planning a wedding too! Needless to say, taking time off in the upcoming year will be vital.

“I started my business in early 2016, and I have finally quit my day job,” Germano shares. “I’ll be a full-time business owner starting in January 2018. Though I plan to ramp up my business in 2018, I also think it’s incredibly important to take time off; I don’t believe that anything is sustainable if you don’t make time to rest and recharge, no matter how much you love it. I’m also getting married in November and plan to take a three-week honeymoon. I won’t do any work during that time, as I know I’ll be working very hard on my business (and wedding) all year, and a long honeymoon will be a much-needed reward.” She tells us that her time off will be a success if she can recuperate from the wedding and business planning and recharge for 2019 and everything it might bring.

Beat Burnout and Work Smarter

“In July, I announced my exit from the online copywriting scene,” Margaret Olatunbosun tells us. “I was working over 12 hours a day (in addition to being a part-time registered nurse) and was completely burnt out.” A budding entrepreneur, Olatunbosun says that taking time off comes with two objectives that’ll help her succeed over the long haul. “First, I’m planning for monthly staycations in hotels to reflect on my journey as an entrepreneur; as an introvert, this really appeals to me. Second, I want to use the time to redefine what it means for me to be a creative entrepreneur so I can work with fewer clients.”

Saloni Doshi from EcoEnclose chimes in that working smarter, not harder, is a great way to preserve energy while getting tons done: “Most days I’m at work from sunup to sundown, and I absolutely love every second of it, but I’m an all-around better human being and much better boss when I’ve had some time to do things I enjoy and take a break from the busyness of running a business.” Doshi explains that in the coming year, she’s decided to be preemptive about taking breaks, scheduling them to prevent ever becoming exhausted in the first place. “I hope these scheduled staycations will keep me feeling fresh and inspired to be the best business-owner, boss, and mom I can be,” she confides.

A woman takes a break on a road trip

Find New Inspiration

Sevensmith is a cool company that sells ethically made home decor products from artisans around the world, and founder Liat Tzoubari tells us that she’s inspired during her R+R, especially when vacationing to places that surface new ideas. “I’ve been working overtime since the beginning of September to ensure that we were ready for the holiday season, which has been extremely busy! But I’ll be going to southern Mexico in January for two weeks to soak up some sun and lay by the beach. Knowing this is ahead of me has helped me get through this tough and stressful time; I’m most looking forward to spending quality time with my husband, reading a few good books, and being able to take a step back from my business.” Tzoubari shares an added benefit to getting away: “I find that clearing my head helps me think of new ideas and different angles for my business, which is hard to do when you are knee-deep in operations on a day-to-day basis.” We couldn’t agree more.

Make Planned Time for Play

It’s easy to fall into a routine of work, work, work, but business consultant and coach Miara Shaw asserts that scheduling leisure time is a key component to her success. “Being a coach (and someone who is always developing other people and their businesses), I intentionally take each Monday off, in addition to the month of December.” Shaw says that she uses her time wisely, simply catching her breath and doing the things she enjoys most. “I love reading a book, sleeping late, catching up with friends, and relaxing,” she spills. “I must refill myself, as my business requires me to pour into others frequently.”

Two women vacation together

Break Free from a Regular Routine

“Ever since I was a child, I’ve associated ‘vacation’ with ‘travel,’” explains Monica Eaton-Cardone, the co-founder and COO of Chargebacks911. “Operating a global company with corporate offices in both the US and the UK, however, I already travel more than I’d like. To be honest, the idea of a vacation wasn’t all that appealing.” On the other hand, Eaton-Cardone admits that she needs a breather from time to time and that the magic in taking one comes simply from breaking up her routine. “I need to be exposed to new ideas and gain a fresh perspective,” she admits. “I live within a short drive of some amazing history and scenery, so I’ve started planning a few long-weekend getaways over the next few months. I look forward to being able to ‘shut down’ in small doses.”

Spend QT With Loved Ones

Tiffany Dyba, a career coach, says planning a 2018 trip with her husband is an awesome reward for the hard work she’s put in as a new business owner. “This trip could not come at a better time, as I am feeling the ‘new entrepreneur lonely syndrome’ and he’s been busy working in retail. We haven’t had a real vacation or chance to connect like we normally do in a long time,” she confesses. “My goal for this trip to Iceland is to live in the moment and be present.”

Kristin Groos Richmond, the CEO and co-founder of Revolution Foods, agrees. “I’ve always thought that taking a vacation is critical, given the intense nature of building a company. Vacation offers a chance to focus on family, personal time, and passions in a dedicated way that lets me come back to work feeling more effective and fulfilled in my career journey. My personal family trip this year will be for two weeks to Kenya, where I lived and worked in 2001/2002. I’m very much looking forward to sharing a magical place and incredible people and culture with my husband Steve and sons Watts and Caleb.”

Are you planning some R+R for 2018? Tell us what you hope it’ll do for your energy, creativity and health on Twitter @BritandCo.

(Photos via Getty)