We all know that feeling of dread as soon as you step off that airplane after a magical vacation. Everything seems so familiar, boring, and mundane. You’d give anything to go back. And when you hear your alarm go off, you have to suppress the urge to throw it against the wall. Going back to work after a vacation can be torturous. But the good news is that it doesn’t have to be. These are some small ways that make that transition a little easier.
1. Organize Your Workload
Even before you head out on vacation, make sure to organize all your tasks. Look at everything that you’re putting on hold and anything that might be added on to your plate when you get back. Allocate enough time to each task so that you don’t come back to a flood of work that makes you feel overwhelmed. Find time in your schedule to go through emails, checklists, reading material, whatever you might need to do.
2. Enjoy Being Home
There really is no place like home. You’ll have to admit that deep down, you did miss the familiarity of it all. Try to be present in the moment and enjoy the comfort of sleeping in your bed. Make plans to meet all your friends. You’ll have plenty to catch up on. If you have pets, spend a little extra time cuddling and playing with them. They definitely missed you while you were gone too.
Studies show that people who exercise have improved moods and perform better in the workplace when compared to those who don’t.1 A jog, some light stretching, or yoga before work may help you feel happier and more alert at your workplace.
4. Eat Brain Healthy Foods
This one is for when you’re jet-lagged, grumpy and distracted with memories of your backpacking trip through southern Spain. These foods help perk up your brain and increase concentration. Bananas are a good example because they contain glucose which is essential for efficient brain function.2 Walnuts are also a great option because they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which can improve mood, and help learning and memory.3 Combine these two foods with dark chocolate, and you will experience a drop in stress hormones.4 Also, why wouldn’t you be happy when there’s chocolate involved?
5. Be Socially Active
The worst part about coming back to work is the thought of the monotonous, mundane routine you’ll be forced back into. For a few weeks following your return, make sure your weekends and free time are filled with unique activities. Go to events, concerts, classes, and drag your friends along as well. Even if it’s just trying to cook a new dish at home, these new experiences can help you strike an ideal work-life balance.
6. Bring A Souvenir To Work
Prop up a little souvenir or photo at your desk. The great memories from your trip will come rushing back and improve your mood. There are other ways you can reminisce about your most recent vacation spot. Maybe you could find a restaurant that serves that region’s food. Or you can try to recreate a dish you tasted on your adventures. Just sorting out your pictures from the trip can help you feel better.
7. Plan Your Next Vacation
This might sound counterproductive but it can really help, even if your vacation is far away on the calendar. You know that happy, giddy feeling you have before a vacation? That anticipation can make you feel happier and make the drudgery much more bearable without distracting you too much.
At the end of the day, it’s important to give yourself something to look forward to. You can do this without stepping out of your city. Look around for things to do, places to see and people to meet. Try out these suggestions and you’ll be able to settle back into your normal routine in no time.
|↑1||Coulson, Jo C., Jim McKenna, and Matthew Field. “Exercising at work and self-reported work performance.” International Journal of Workplace Health Management 1, no. 3 (2008): 176-197.|
|↑2||Welberg, Leonie. “Sugar on the brain.” Nature Reviews Neuroscience 15, no. 9 (2014).|
|↑3||Poulose, Shibu M., Marshall G. Miller, and Barbara Shukitt-Hale. “Role of walnuts in maintaining brain health with age.” The Journal of nutrition 144, no. 4 (2014): 561S-566S.|
|↑4||Wirtz, Petra H., Roland von Känel, Rebecca E. Meister, Angela Arpagaus, Sibylle Treichler, Ulrike Kuebler, Susanne Huber, and Ulrike Ehlert. “Dark chocolate intake buffers stress reactivity in humans.” Journal of the American College of Cardiology 63, no. 21 (2014): 2297-2299.|