August is almost here and we all know what it means: Holidays! Especially in Spain, August is known as the ultimate holiday month that is followed by the infamous September a.k.a. Post-Vacation Blues Month. It is not really a term recognised in the medical world, but anyone who has experienced it perfectly knows how real the feeling can be. When beach days are over and the watches show the time to get back to work after the summer holidays many people suffer from it. Some experts say it is caused by extra stress on the body, and by the switching from the feelings of joy and freedom to the struggle of catching up with tons of emails. Let’s face it, holidays can’t last forever and this is exactly what makes them so special BUT we are human and we tend to forget reality sometimes.
In order to make the post-vacation a little bit less shocking, we prepared some advice for the “return to work after summer holidays” moment before you even start your holidays. The earlier you prepare yourself for that moment the better you will feel on vacation and the more motivated when you are back to work.
What to do before going on holiday?
Plan your return!
If you are a “last-minute” person, you probably try to manage all your handovers and projects only a couple of days before your holidays, if not the last hours. This causes, as expected, a way more stressed first day at work when you return. Instead of almost having burnout while trying to finish everything in your last hours or leaving it all for “post-vacation” start earlier planning your absence. If you plan your return ahead, you will feel less stressed thinking about work at the beach while you shouldn’t be thinking about it at all, and you will handle everything easier once you are back.
Some tips to better plan your schedule:
– Organise things for your handover. If someone else is going to handle some projects for you when you are gone, make sure they exactly know what to do. Create some checklists for them to handle it correctly, so you don’t have to fix it all later. Give clear instructions on what is urgent and what can wait. Make it easier for them to cover you and for yourself to get back.
– Plan your return and make different to-do lists for each day of the first week back at the office. To-do lists are not fun, at least for most people, but they are useful if you don’t put everything together at once without prioritising them and simply cry yourself out. Instead of feeling exhausted on your first day realising all the work has to be done, plan and prioritise the tasks. Acknowledge the time you have in a day and the time you need to finish your tasks and divide them into different days. Don’t think about any task if it’s not the right time for it.
– Arrange some quality “after-work” time for your first post-vacation week. You will get used to that “me-time” during your holiday, and you need to maintain it to have a nice transition week. Put different events in your calendar right after work, so you feel motivated to get things done. Do it before your holiday and cancel the first “Monday syndrome” after work before it lays its eggs.
What to do once you are back from your summer holidays?
Get Ready For Work The Night Before.
Don’t get stressed as first thing in the morning. Avoid being in a rush by making a small plan about what to wear and what you require including your purse, bag, keys, etc. Having everything under control will help you to get ready for work really fast without unnecessary stress.
Get To Work Earlier.
On your first day back, do your best to arrive at work a bit early. You will be struggling at first, but it will give you time to realize and accept the fact that you’re no longer on vacation. It’s also a good way to avoid traffic and not get anxious because of the chaos of commuting. Finally, you’ll get some quiet time in the office to make a coffee and tidy your desk before everybody comes.
Take Your Time.
You will probably have too much work to catch up on so don’t rush. Remember the prioritised to-do lists you made? Follow them. If new things came up and your priorities changed a bit take your time and spend a consistent part of your first day choosing what’s urgent and what’s not and don’t take on anything new. By doing so, you will manage to get back in the swing of things. Schedule a few tasks that you like to make your return a little bit more enjoyable.
Set New Goals.
Remember that it is always important to have a long-term goal to look after. It gives you motivation and shows what your hard work is worth.
Learning something new is always a good idea. You will not get bored and you’ll have a challenge that will be useful for your future and for your career.
Arrange Something Nice For Lunch.
Breaks are really important to refresh your brain, especially when coming back from a holiday where you probably had delicious meals in stunning locations. Try to plan your lunch outside the office, treat yourself. Maybe go to an exotic restaurant or cook yourself something nice and have a picnic at the park. Don’t be afraid of calories, desserts can really lighten up your day.
Listen To Some Music.
When possible, is always a great idea. Find the right playlist. It should be something you like, something relaxing and not too loud so that it can transmit positive vibes and a sense of calmness. But be careful, choose something that will keep you from falling asleep at your desk and that will enable you to stay focused and be productive.
Catch Up With Your Colleagues.
When coming back to work after the holidays, you should always speak to everyone and ask for any news or changes in their life or about the workplace. Getting along with colleagues and making some friends can significantly improve your work experience. You will feel a sense of belonging, and you will perform better results by helping each other.
Embrace The Blues.
Last but not least, don’t be afraid of a small amount of negativity in your life. Even the people who are always positive need some mood switching in their lives. It reminds you that you’re human, you have feelings, and they can’t always be good. Just don’t’ let it bring you down, face the fact that you will feel a bit lost for a while, but you will get better eventually. You should see it as a necessary stage in your life path.
Now, enjoy your holidays!
You worked a lot, you deserve to relax. It’s time to spend quality time for yourself and with your loved ones. Explore new things, eat good food, get some tan, do that thing you’ve been planning to do for so long … Whatever you are going to do, enjoy it!
P.S.: Don’t check your emails during your holiday! :)