Science cited in a Forbes article states that taking a vacation increases productivity. But it’s not always easy to switch from vacay mode to work mode, especially after enjoying a much-needed break. Your transition back to work doesn’t have to be stressful or something to dread either.
Head back to the office with a smile and get your rhythm back in no time. Here are 4 ways you can ease your way back into your daily grind after vacation:
1. Give yourself some time to reset before going back to work.
Take a day or two after your vacation is over to relax and recuperate at home. Everybody needs some time to get into the rhythm of their daily routine after vacation is over. Sure, there are many tasks waiting for you, but give yourself some time to unwind. Do things that are relaxing to you after coming back from a long break. Give your mind time to adjust so you won’t feel overwhelmed and stressed out when you return to work.
Having a built-in “rest day” after your vacation will make you less stressed out about catching up on chores such as grocery shopping, doing laundry and making sure to get a good night’s sleep before returning to work.
2. Make a to-do list.
You won’t be able to do all your tasks on your first day back, so make it a goal to tackle one task at a time. Review your calendar and create a list of things you need to do when you come back to work and prioritize what needs to be done. Doing this on your way back from your vacation is ideal so you don’t spend your vacation planning for when you get back home! Map out one to two things you need to get done each day. You may want to start with small tasks that you can easily accomplish to boost your confidence.
Creating a to-do list is one way of organizing your thoughts and helps you feel more prepared to go back to work. Scheduling your meetings not on the first day you return, but the second day, will give you peace of mind as well. The main goal here is to make sure you take care of yourself and not burn out while managing the tasks that await you when you return home.
3. Embrace the post-holiday blues.
Based on research cited in the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine, people experience the highest levels of increased happiness before their vacation and during the planning and anticipation phases. Shortly after their vacations ended, however, a significant number of participants reported feeling more stress, anxiety and aversion toward going back to their daily routine. This is especially true for people who truly enjoyed and got away during their vacation.
If you’re feeling lethargic, less motivated, sad or other unpleasant feelings that characterize post-vacation blues, know that it’s normal. Instead of brushing it off and forcing yourself to jump right back in, embrace the blues and give yourself a little extra self-care for your first few days back. Mix responsibilities with fun activities that make you happy and relaxed.
4. Take breaks during the day and leave work on time.
Don’t feel guilty if you want to give yourself a little break during the work day too. Take some time to let your mind adjust back to reality. Going into full-work mode without taking breaks will defeat the purpose of you taking the vacation in the first place—it will only lead to burnout. Also, remember that you don’t have to put in extra hours of work to catch up on all your tasks. Taking a vacation and coming back to hours of overtime will undoubtedly make you feel overwhelmed.
Let your vacation be exactly what it’s intended to be: a BREAK!
Getting back to work after a long, relaxing and enjoyable vacation can be hard, but it shouldn’t be unbearable. With a little prep and strategy, you can keep your sanity upon going back to work and get into the groove of things in no time.
We all deserve a break from our hectic work schedules. So when you do get that chance, take it in full stride and don’t worry about what’s waiting for you when you get back until you actually return.
In love and respect,