You know they’re coming: the post-vacation blues. Getting your body back to work is the easy part. Getting your head and heart back in the game is the hard part. How can you shake the sand out of your mental beach blanket? We have a few bright ideas to make you feel less miserable and more energized once you’re back at your desk.
- Plan your next weekend right away. To minimize “post traumatic vacation shock”, make it a work-free weekend if possible, to help you ease back into your regular rhythm. Pack a small suitcase, go to a Bed and Breakfast, spend a night with friends in the country… pretend, for one more weekend, that your vacation isn’t really over. (It is, but there will be others!)
- Go easy on yourself. Returning to work after a vacation is a transitional period. It’s going to take you a while to catch up, so don’t try to work on three different things at once. You’ll only stress yourself out and waste all those vacation benefits you’ve racked up. So relax and focus on a single task, then do it and proceed to the next. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you find yourself zipping along at your usual speed.
- Skim, prioritize, delete. Look, even if there are 789 emails in your inbox, most of them are no longer relevant (expired offers, completed projects, invitations to events that have already happened…). So skim them and sort them according to subject and sender – not according to date. It’s more important to find out what happened while you were gone as opposed to when things happened. Once you’ve sorted things out, be heartless: prioritize what’s important and delete the rest. Yes, all of it. If you delete an important message by mistake, the sender will undoubtedly follow up with you.
- Change your desk décor. Coming back to the same old same old is depressing. While you’re tidying things up, why not switch things around? If you have a private office, move your furniture around and add a jazzy throw rug. If you only have a cubicle, put a fancy mirror on your wall. Jettison your boring old spider plant and replace it with something that has some pizzazz, like a white orchid or a fragrant plant like lemon balm.
- Do some “me” work too. Exercise is even more important just after vacation, after you’ve been spending time swimming, playing tennis, and enjoying other physical activities. Don’t let it all stop when you get to the office door! Staying in working shape is so much easier when you exercise – even just a little. There are so many easy things you can do, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator (okay, you get a pass if you work on the 23rd floor), taking short walks at lunchtime, or even doing exercises right at your desk. You know the drill. Keep yourself active!
- Go home on time! Do you tend to stay at work late the first few days back from a vacation? Just because you were on vacation doesn’t mean you have to put in more hours at work. Vacations are earned, not stolen. You don’t have to “pay them back”! Unless there’s a real work emergency, make a point of leaving the office on time. Improved health and well-being will be your rewards.