The million-dollar question – how does one return to work after vacation with his mind at ease? We don’t claim to have the answer, but we have a few tips up our sleeve to make the dreadful transition back to work easier and smoother.
Why is it so hard to go back to work after vacation?
Vacation can mean different things to different people. For some, it’s catching up with friends and family, while for others it means traveling, working on a home makeover, or consuming unreasonable quantities of food on your couch while binge-watching your favorite TV series. But one thing about vacation is universal — the thought at the back of our heads that constantly goes: “I’ll have to get back to work again soon”.
We’ve all been there. We all know the feeling of post-vacation blues. Experts agree that the feeling is completely normal and is usually caused by the change in your daily routine. Knowing that we will have to shift from vacation mode, where waking up on time is optional and breakfast is served at PM hours, to work-mode, where deadlines make a comeback, is what drives that dreadful feeling.
So, here are a few things that should help you tame the post-vacation blues upon returning to work.
Plan your return
Sure, planning your return to work is not as fun as getting everything ready for your vacation. However, having a strategy will pay dividends. Before leaving for your vacation, put up a shortlist of things you want to complete upon return. Organize your passwords into work-related as well as personal accounts because few things are as frustrating and stressful as coming back to work and having to reset all your passwords first thing in the morning. For that, we recommend using a password manager such as NordPass — with it, you will always have your passwords on hand. Sure, all of this doesn’t sound fun but this way the return should be a whole lot smoother.
Take a buffer day
Don’t go rushing back into work. Take it easy. Give yourself a buffer day or two to get yourself back into your regular routine. You can devote this time to unpacking, doing the laundry, shopping or whatever else you need to get back into the regular lifecycle. The point is to help your mind adjust to a shift in lifestyle. It might not be fun, but it sure will help you curb the stress levels before returning to work.
Get caught up
It might be tempting to check all the unread email, but know that doing so will only make you frustrated and overwhelmed. It’s best to start your day by chatting to colleagues, getting to broadly know whether anything big happened while you were gone. Having a general idea of where daily projects and tasks stand at the current moment will help you prioritize your to-do list when you start diving back in a little deeper.
Take it easy, take breaks
Don’t be hard on yourself. Don’t feel guilty about coming back from vacation, there is nothing that you need to compensate for, you deserved the vacation. Remember, going into full work-mode right after your time off is a great recipe for burn out. Take it easy. Try to focus on one thing at a time and don’t overdo it. Take breaks, interact with your coworkers, go outside to get fresh air. And finally, leave on time — no overtime for you!
Try to stay positive
It might not be easy, but practising positivity in the days leading up to your return to work can really help. When you are thinking about your first day back, instead of focusing on the negative – such as your full inbox – think about all the things you love about your job. Whether it’s working on a particular project or spending time with your coworkers, focus on the things you are looking forward to about returning to work.
Plan your next vacation
While you’re still in vacation mode, think ahead and plan for your next vacation. You don’t need to buy the plane tickets right now, but just having a plan for the next vacation will allow you to look forward to something. Don’t think of vacation as a once-a-year occurrence. Plan a weekend getaway and keep those vacation spirits high.