05 Sep Back to Work: Resuming Your Routine After Vacation
For too many Americans, vacations are hard to come by. But when we’re able to take a break from work, the adjustment back to the office can be challenging.
Most of us prize our vacations, even those spent at home. Millions of Americans don’t take all the days off they’re offered, and many don’t get any at all or can’t afford to stay away from work. This makes the breaks from routine we get all the more valuable. But the better the vacation, the harder it can be to return to our old obligations and schedule.
Of course, some people return reenergized and ready to go. Others feel resignation, dread, or boredom. Any of these reactions can cause your work to suffer. How can you make the most of your time off without setting yourself up to be overwhelmed, distracted, or disappointed?
Plan Your Return Before You Go
Before you leave work, set aside a little time to plan for your return. The tasks you can do might be simple, but getting errands out of the way can ease your worries and lighten your schedule. For example, you might make sure you have what you need for breakfast on the morning of your return to work. Small frustrations can start your return off badly.
If you have a desk or other personal workspace, straighten up before you go. Unless you absolutely have to keep an item with you, make sure that work related materials and tools are at work, in your bag, or in your car. You don’t want to return to work to find that you left something back home. It’s a good idea to make a checklist of what you need to take so you don’t leave anything behind in your suitcase.
Have Realistic Expectations
Time off, especially in a new environment, can make you feel energized and full of inspiration. As a result, you might return to work with great plans that sometimes become unrealistic expectations. If things don’t turn out, this can turn into frustration and disappointment.
Why? Your workplace doesn’t stop when you’re gone and there may be unexpected problems or new tasks when you return. In addition, you might feel bad if you don’t get as much done as you dreamed.
Bring your new energy and ideas, but don’t get too upset if things don’t take the exact course you hoped for.
Take Things Slow
Part of having realistic expectations is understanding how much you may actually be able to accomplish in your first days back. Don’t assume that your energy will last and you can do your work faster than before. It may be that other people, not you, are putting on the pressure. Don’t panic or try to do too many things at once; the quality of your work will suffer. Do your work well and at your normal pace – or a little better than usual.
Do Something Positive
Make sure that you do something fun, positive, or relaxing during your first week back. This may mean getting a nice dinner or simply setting aside sometime to indulge a favorite activity. Whatever it is, making sure that you don’t get overwhelmed with work can help you have a more positive outlook and make the transition easier.
Vacations can be a time of escape, but they can also be a good time to reevaluate what’s important to you. Returning to your professional life after a break can be energizing or aggravating. Take time to figure out why you feel the way you do. If you truly dislike your job, it may be time for a change. This will take dedication and energy.
Transitioning back to your routine after a break will take as much a week or two. Plan ahead, set realistic expectations, and be prepared to deal with post-vacation blues. To keep your energy and outlook positive, insist on doing something you enjoy as you resume your schedule.
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