Getting Back on Track After Vacation – Nine Tips

<span id="hs_cos_wrapper_name" class="hs_cos_wrapper hs_cos_wrapper_meta_field hs_cos_wrapper_type_text" style="" data-hs-cos-general-type="meta_field" data-hs-cos-type="text" >Getting Back on Track After Vacation – Nine Tips</span>

For many people, August marks the end of vacation and the return to work. Transitioning from leisurely mornings and lazy days in the sun to emails, meetings, and responsibilities can be quite challenging, to say the least. Fortunately, there are a few simple tricks to ease the transition out of the vacation bubble. Feeling resistance to going back to work after vacation is something most people experience, and it doesn't necessarily mean you're unhappy in your workplace. We're going from a carefree existence without fixed routines to suddenly having responsibilities, deadlines, and expectations to perform. It's only natural, even necessary, to feel apprehensive about returning to work. That's what Mattias Lindberg, a psychologist and associate professor of psychology, suggests in an interview with metrojobb.se (in Swedish). Feeling anxiety and stress is simply the body's way of gearing up and preparing for something challenging. So, if you're feeling job anxiety, you're completely normal. That's okay, but the fact remains that we somehow have to deal with those negative emotions. We have compiled the best tips for you.

  1. Start off gently Give yourself a soft start and accept that you won't be as productive as usual. Shifting gears from vacation mode to work mode takes a lot of energy. If you've also adjusted your sleep schedule during the vacation, you're naturally more tired. Therefore, be kind to yourself and have reasonable expectations for what you'll accomplish in the first few days. No matter how stressed you feel about tackling all the work, try to leave at a regular time, don't skip your lunch break, and take small regular breaks throughout the day. If you can control your working hours, it might be wise to shorten the first workweek. For example, start on Wednesday, so you only have a few days to get through before the weekend, and you'll avoid the worst Sunday blues.
  2. Avoid meetings Try to keep your calendar free of meetings as much as possible during the first few days. Perhaps you can even leave your email autoresponder on for an extra day after you return? Or you can switch to a status that accurately reflects your situation, such as "I just returned from vacation and may not be able to respond to emails immediately." This way, you'll have a breathing space and a chance to settle back into work calmly.

    Get an overview of the situation. Not everything needs to be addressed right now.

  3. Create a to-do list When tasks have piled up, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. However, try not to jump at the first thing you see. Instead, create an overview of the situation first. Most likely, you'll realize that not everything needs to be taken care of right at this moment. Write a to-do list where you prioritize all your tasks. If tackling larger, more demanding tasks feels daunting, if possible, allow yourself to focus on simpler routine tasks or something that brings you extra joy. It creates a flow when you see the list shrinking quickly, and once you get started, it becomes easier to tackle the more challenging items.
  4. Sort your inbox Few things are as stressful as an overflowing inbox. It may feel most natural to tackle emails in chronological order, but to gain an overview, it's wise to categorize them by priority instead. Scan through the emails that seem most urgent and respond to them first. Sort the rest into categories such as "This week" or "Further research."
  5. Hold onto the vacation feeling The end of vacation doesn't necessarily mean the end of summer. Remember that you can keep some of your delightful vacation habits even at work. Why not have the morning meeting outdoors, treat yourself to an ice cream during lunch, or take an evening swim when you've clocked out for the day?

    Lay the foundation for good habits before the hamster wheel starts spinning again.

  6. Seize the opportunity for a fresh start During your vacation, you've hopefully had time for relaxation and reflection. You may have been able to see your job with fresh eyes, and perhaps a new idea or two popped up while you were lounging in the hammock. Is there something you want to change at work to enjoy it more? Do you want to switch tasks or maybe further your education? Take advantage of the thoughts that emerged during your vacation, talk to your boss and colleagues, and together, create a plan for how you can get where you want to be. You might have also had time to contemplate your lifestyle and what you want to change regarding diet, exercise, sleep, and rest. Make the most of this opportunity for a fresh start and lay the foundation for good habits before the hamster wheel starts spinning in earnest.
  7. Plan things to look forward to The next long break may seem far away, and darkness and cold are approaching. One tip is to plan enjoyable activities to look forward to. A weekend trip, a family outing to the forest or trying out a new outdoor activity can boost your energy. Go mushroom picking, swim in a lake, try disc golf, or perhaps stand-up paddleboarding?
  8. Talk to your colleagues Chances are you're not the only one at your workplace feeling anxious about getting back to work. Take a moment to chat with your colleagues by the coffee machine if you're physically present or have a virtual coffee break in the chat room before diving into work. Share vacation stories, vent your feelings about returning to work, and encourage each other for the upcoming work season.
  9. Sharpen your work processes New semester, new opportunities! This also applies to your work processes. Make sure you enter autumn with the right tools to work smart and efficiently. If you feel that time reporting, scheduling, and expense reports are consuming endless amounts of time that could be better spent elsewhere, is it time to invest in new digital solutions that streamline onboarding/offboarding, salary reviews, performance evaluations, and other important HR routines that you currently handle manually? Flex HRM automates personnel administration, allowing you to focus on what makes your business grow.

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