So you’ve just gotten back from your week in the South of France (or some other exotic location) and you’re dreading going back to the office? You’re not alone. After being on vacation, heading back to the daily grind may feel like an abrupt slap in the face.
With a bit of planning, you can legitimately enjoy your time off without the burdening feeling of returning to the real world. Developing a recovery strategy is essential to easing your transition back into regular life. Here are six tips for easing yourself back into the workplace post-vacay.
1. Give Yourself an Extra Day
No matter where you end up going for vacation or how long you stay away, make sure to leave yourself at least one free day before returning to work. This will serve as a buffer, allowing you to ease back into your normal routines.
These days can be used to do things like unpacking, doing laundry, reading emails, etc. It also will allow you to mentally prepare yourself for returning to work, so you don’t have to worry about it while you’re away.
Leaving yourself extra time before heading back to work is extremely important if your vacation involves extensive traveling. Jet lag can last several days if you plan on flying long distances, especially if you’re traveling west to east. When heading east your day is shortened, making it much harder for your body to adjust because its natural cycle is interrupted. If you must take a red-eye flight, do your best to sleep and help your body adjust to the new time schedule.
Exercise can help improve both your physical and your emotional well-being. Getting your endorphins flowing can help you work harder and focus more. The physical exertion can also help your body readjust after extensive traveling, especially if you’re experiencing jet lag.
3. Arrive Early on Your First Day Back
On your first day back, head to the office a little earlier than normal. Take the extra time to get yourself organized and clean up your workspace, especially if you left a mess before you left. Physically cleaning and tidying your workspace will lead to a clutter-free atmosphere, which will also help refresh your frame of mind.
You may also want to take some time to sort through missed emails and get yourself caught up with business matters. Doing these tasks before regular office hours will allow you to better utilize your work time and get more completed throughout the day.
4. Share Stories with Coworkers
Having personal and positive interactions with your coworkers has been known to be one of many factors of engagement in the workplace. No doubt, your coworkers will want to hear all the details about your time away. Plan on sharing your stories with them and perhaps show off a few photos. This will put you in a better mood and help keep your fun experiences fresh in your mind.
5. Plan Your Next Vacation
It may sound absurd, but research has shown that planning your next vacation before your current one ends can help prevent you from burning out. Plan something fun, whether it be a future vacation, weekend getaway, or something as simple as going out to a nice dinner. Doing this gives you something to look forward to and can also serve as a reward for getting back into work mode and keep the good feelings flowing.
6. Have Reasonable Expectations
Above all, remember to keep your expectations reasonable. Understand that once you get back to work, things will not be running like clockwork right away. You’ve been out of the loop for a while, so try to have patience with projects and with others to keep things running smoothly. If things get too hectic, remember to slow down, take a breather, and perhaps look at some vacation photos to boost your mood.