“There should be sympathy cards for having to go back to work after vacations.” - Anonymous
I’m so tired of being on holiday. I’m just dying to get back to my job… said no one EVER.
The defibrillator-like jolt of transitioning from lying on the couch reading in front of the fireplace to sitting at your desk with a mountain of to-do’s in front of you is almost enough to make you start sobbing gently into your almond milk double chia seed latte.
But before you ruin a perfectly good coffee beverage, Affordable Mallorca has some tips on making the shift from vacation-mode back to reality much easier.
Take it Seriously #
All joking aside, getting the blues or having anxiety after coming back from a holiday is a very real thing. The quasi-medical term for it is post travel depression (or PTD. Doctors love little acronyms, don’t they?). It's defined as the mood some people experience after returning home following a trip, and it can result in the person dealing with it to have symptoms as mild as feeling a bit tired or let down to extreme anxiety. Loss of appetite and nostalgic or sentimental bouts of feelings may also arise.
Experts agree this condition usually sorts itself in a few days but can take several weeks in some cases. It is thought to be best relieved by sharing good time experiences with others, looking at photos from the trip, planning another holiday or actually reliving enjoyable moments from the time away, like meeting family and friends over the Christmas and New Year's holidays.
As living on Mallorca is already a sort of vacation in itself, take advantage of what is available to do here, and extend that holiday every chance you get. Get active! It might not be beach-time right now, but Mallorca has many indoor pools. Or explore the great outdoors! Mallorca's mild winters offer ideal conditions hiking and horse riding. Or visit a farmer’s market and make a healthy, extra-light, vitamin-packed after-holiday dinner for family or friends. Anything to remind you that whilst your holiday was stupendous, life here is pretty darn good, too.
But What About Work? #
Getting back to the grind is another matter. When it comes to the nuts and bolts of getting back to work, there are many strategies that can be used to make the landing far less bumpy.
Before You Go
A few little things can make re-entry better. They all involve a bit of pre-holiday organisation but are oh-so worth it in the long run. Make sure to delegate anything that can’t wait until your return. You may be resting after your turkey dinner, but depending on your line of business your customers might not, plus your accountant might be pushing to meet end-of-year deadlines, so make sure you’ve got a point person taking care of business for you. Set up an out-of-office message and voicemail so that no one is pestering you by text about where their widget is, and make clear your expectations, as in if you will be checking in or not. Leave an alternative contact for clients to reach with anything that simply can’t wait.
Return One Day Early
This may sound insane, as certainly everyone wants to squeeze every last minute out of time away, but by getting home a day earlier, there is time to flip the switch from party to projects. There is time to unpack, restock the fridge, watch a bit of TV, read a few emails and just plain relax before jumping back into the fray.
Don’t Over-Schedule the First Day Back
If you don’t want to have a freak out on the first day back, don’t put too much on your plate. Avoid meetings and clients and give yourself time to catch up. Take care of priority emails, ask around about things that happened in your absence and find out about any changes or new aspects to ongoing projects. Also, don’t think you can catch up on two weeks backlog of work in one day. Not gonna happen, Action Jackson. So, let yourself off the hook and tackle two or three extra things a day until you’re all caught up. Giving yourself ramp up time will keep your blood pressure from skyrocketing and make you more confident about getting back in the saddle.
Get Back into a Routine, But First Clean House
Take a half hour and wipe off your desk, remove the coffee mugs that you left before departing, water your cactus and tidy your space in general. Maybe add a new family snap or extra-precious little Christmas gift you received as a happy reminder. If you don’t work in an office setting, make sure your work equipment is in good condition and proper working order. Then go have your morning coffee, or whatever it is that you usually did every morning before going away. If you usually go to lunch with your ex-boyfriend’s sister-in-law on Mondays, go. Getting things back to “normal” quickly reminds you and everyone else you are back and ready to work.
Give Yourself Breaks
Even though you’ve been on a holiday break, you still will need a bit of periodic downtime the first week to breathe. No one expects you to work yourself into the ground because you took time off, so don’t let guilt turn you into a burnout victim. Time away allows for looking at old problems with fresh eyes. If you’ve got a clutter-free environment, both mentally and physically, it’s easier to do, making getting back in the groove that much less stressful and maybe even kind of fun.
Keep In Mind Island Time
This is Mallorca. Rarely is anyone in so much of a hurry that you can’t have a reasonably gentle homecoming – especially so early in the new year when everybody is still in a holiday mood. The island’s work rhythms are pretty conducive to a laid-back lifestyle, so if you come back with guns blazing, you may be received with some blank stares and no small amount of shock-horror. Work often doesn’t start on the island until 10 a.m., so don’t worry about missing calls if you’re not at work by 8. Knowing that locals lunch between 2 and 4 p.m. and that it's bad form to call on them, you know you’ve got that time to catch up on correspondence or whatever needs doing. Relax. It’ll all be fine in the end, and if it’s not fine, it’s not the end!
Remember, you’ve just returned from a well-deserved break and it’s not like you’ve come back to the seventh circle of hell. You’re back to the amazing island home you have the great fortune of living on. You look good and you feel good… take some of that holiday feeling with you to the job and let yourself shine!
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By Stephanie Horsman
7 January, 2020