At one point or another (or perhaps once a week), we’ve all muttered to ourselves, “I could use a vacation.” Even employers are starting to realize that happy workers are productive workers and that vacation time is a real priority. Since 57% of organizations view employee retention as a problem, paid vacation days — and the encouragement to actually use those vacation days — could go a long way.
How to Readjust After Taking a Relaxing Vacation
But while some time off can help reset your brain and help to relieve stress, those benefits seem to fade very quickly upon your return. In fact, the American Psychological Association’s 2018 Work and Well-Being Survey found that 60% of U.S. adults said their positive vacation feeling disappeared in a matter of days once they came back to work. Whether you spend time at one of the 1,547 timeshare resorts that exist throughout the United States, explore a new country, or take a road trip, you may find it extremely difficult to readjust after your vacation. You may feel more stressed than ever due to the work that’s piled up. How can you avoid it? By trying the tips below the next time you take time off.
Take an Extra Day to Readjust
The first day back is usually the worst. If you can, try to build in an extra day when you return from your trip before you have to head to the office. That can allow you to take care of things like laundry, house cleaning, grocery shopping, and other tasks that could make the coming week more difficult. If you can’t afford to add an extra day to your itinerary, consider building it in from the start and cutting your vacation short by a day. Even if you’re only traveling domestically, you’ll be glad for the extra time if you want to sleep in or catch up on emails before getting back to real life. And if you do have to be back to work right afterward, consider leaving your “out of office” message up for an extra day. That’ll give you some breathing room, at least.
Try to Pamper Yourself on a Regular Basis
A lot of people make the mistake of hanging all their hopes on their one vacation. That can set you up for disappointment upon your return, as you suddenly might not have anything to look forward to. The post-vacation blues can quickly turn into a bout of depression. But if you make it a point to pamper yourself a little bit on a regular basis, you won’t have to rely on taking a lot of time off just to avoid burnout. Self-care can take a lot of forms; it can be something as simple as taking a break to go on a walk outside during the day, making a resolution to eat well, making your evenings phone-free, going to bed early, or taking a day trip on the weekend to somewhere special (and close by). That can help break the cycle of burnout-vacation-burnout, which can make your life feel a lot more manageable on a day-to-day basis.
Opt For One Long Getaway Instead of a Few Shorter Ones
It’s not necessarily wrong to take a few short trips in lieu of a week-long stay, but it might not be quite as beneficial to your mental well-being. If you barely have enough time to travel and settle in at your destination, you’re going to feel stressed and nervous for the majority of your vacation — and that kind of defeats the point. While readjusting back to your “real life” schedule may be a little more difficult if you’re able to luxuriate by the lake for a week-and-a-half, you’ll still be giving yourself time to actually relax and recharge. And that’s really key in alleviating burnout.
Prioritize Your Projects
When you get back, you might very well be overwhelmed by everything that’s piled up while you were away. It’s easy to feel like you’re drowning in work when you feel like you’d rather be swimming at the seashore. It’s best if you can prioritize your to-do list in a way that works for you. You might decide to take on a high-profile project first or tackle an easy task to power through using that sense of accomplishment to kick things off. It may help to actually make a daily to-do list so you can work through everything in a timely manner without feeling too much pressure. The worst thing you can do is stare at your computer screen in shock. Everything will get done in its own time; you just need to figure out which tasks need to be done first.
Don’t Jump Back Into the Social Scene
You might be tempted to get in touch with your friends and family as soon as you get back to set up dinners, coffee dates, and nights out — especially if you kept putting them off before you left for vacation. But given how stressed you might be playing catch-up at work, you might want to delay things a little longer. Whether you’re working longer days or you’re simply wiped out, you’ll be glad to have your evenings free to relax. Unless it’s absolutely necessary to attend a social function, give yourself a break and take the time you need to readjust. Your loved ones will be around the following week and you’ll be in a much better state to tell them everything about your trip.
We all want to take a vacation, but sometimes the thought of going away — and the work that awaits you upon your return — might actually dissuade you from getting your much-deserved rest and relaxation. Now that you know the tricks to reducing stress once you get back, you might be more inclined to use those earned vacation days (and actually enjoy them).