Why does relaxation finally set in days before you have to leave for home and dive right back into the shackles of a 9-to-5? Stress follows you just when you think you shook it after making it to your flight on time.
Exploring another place and culture shifts your perspective and lifts your mood when you let it. Reflect over the crystal-clear water and pearly sand of the beach during summer vacation and let your worries float away. Your smile scares other tourists– could you be stress-free? You’re an enigma. How can you bring that high home?
Carry less baggage back than you came with–stop worrying about everything you have to do and stay in the moment. Keep your vacation high when you return to work and filter it into your mundane to-dos with these seven tips.
1. Extend your OOO responder
Vacation is oh-oh-oh so good, so extend your OOO responder. Your out-of-office autoreply should always be straightforward, and many people forget to factor in their transition period back to work. Set reasonable boundaries–you’re open by email for responses to priority questions but will officially come back on “X” day. Include when you’ll check your email or expected response time. Don’t forget to list who else to contact in your place for specific orders of operation, especially if you need to adjust that list.
2. Return midweek
Five days of digging into the trenches of your duties after vacation feels like wading through molasses. Be realistic and arrange to dive back in with an easier time span to manage. Return midweek to shorten your workweek. You’ll push through a shorter week with more enthusiasm even if the load you have to catch up on is heavy. There’s instant perspective turnaround for you rather than heading into work with dread.
3. Take a half day on the first day back
Plan to get to work on your first day late and leave early, or come in early and take the afternoon off. First-day half-days save lives when returning from vacation since you have less on your plate to manage. Think of it as a check-in period. You pop in for four hours to get oriented, tackle priority tasks, and get out with clean hands and a plan for the week ahead.
4. Avoid burnout and embrace gratitude daily
You know vacationing lifts your mood, but leisure time away also lessens the effects of burnout, according to multiple studies. Your mind gets fortified along with your attitude, and your productivity boosts on the return to work. Witnessing opportune moments of kind gestures increases your thankfulness for others, and the beautiful sights and enriching experiences make you reexamine how you lead your life and the roles you play.
Why do you want to play a role when it comes to your personal or professional life? At work, employees are encouraged to step up and keep filling their plates with more tasks but remain soul-hungry. You pick up for others, but do you feel it? Is it reciprocal, and does it need to be? The greatest reward comes when you feel gratitude and give back out of authenticity and a real calling from your heart. So take it slow. Keep a journal at work and write down at least one thing you’re grateful for daily. Start with the day you return to work. Look at your schedule and create some time for yourself. Give time to others as you feel inspired, but don’t risk burnout. Let others help you in return. Embrace gratitude daily.
5. Your to-do list is now
After taking several vacations, you’ve learned not to overfill your itinerary–otherwise, it feels like a chore list to check off some “Everybody does it” type of tourist list. What happened to your bucket list? What happened to the experience of it–the journey? Similarly, a to-do list feels like a chore list that you’ll need thick industrial-strength gloves, boots, and a helmet to tackle. In the same way you learned to shift your perspective on your vacation itinerary, reexamine what your to-do list means to you. Is it a chore list of your duties to check off? See the journey in your to-do list, and you’ll see the unfolding of your future career in the smallest of details. You’ll also recommit to your goals with an enlightened point of view.
6. Block out tech, book naps
Jet lag sucks. Plus, you have to detail with your devices blowing up from all the work-related emails and alerts–not to mention family and friends demanding photos. Just go away, please. As a part of your transition time, block out tech for a mini return cleanse and book naps instead. Besides, that blue light before bedtime negatively impacts your circadian rhythm by suppressing melatonin, potentially worsening your jet lag. All the bells and whistles of alarms and alerts wake you up. Use coffee wisely.
7. Get an update
Don’t wait for them to come to you–go to them first. Head off the work alerts and to-do list pileups on your plate. Schedule getting an update as a part of your return, and take your transition time seriously. Revisit the update, then make a plan of action.
Leave your stress behind at TSA, and check back into work still on your vacation high. Filter that positive and productive energy into your to-do list–oops, itinerary– creatively and with gratitude. Honor your needs during your transition back while giving work all you got without giving too much. The shifts in stress and perspective you experienced while on vacation will carry over to how you see your career path unfolding successfully before you.