Taking a break from work and going on holiday is something that we don’t do often enough, mainly because we dread the after effects of coming back. Coming back to work after a long weekend can feel like a drag. It feels very much like you’re trying so hard to keep that productive switch on but a big part of you is yanking you by the feet to stop.
It’s like waking up from a really wonderful dream only to have to swallow the bitter pill of reality that leaves a horrid taste in your mouth.
Well to this I say no more, it’s time we make coming back to work a little more enjoyable, a little more fun and a little sexier. For us to properly swallow our medicine we need to do a Mary Poppins and take it with a spoon full of sugar
Below are a few things you can do prior to that awesome vacation to make coming back to work a smooth landing on Monday rather than an abrupt ejection from your holiday.
Before you go on your holiday:
1. Have something exciting planned
Have something exciting planned for both when on vacation and for when you get back into the office/ work station/ place where you go to be productive.
Plan out your holidays to be filled with things you’re excited about doing. If you’re into extreme sports then go mountain biking or parasailing or even bungee jumping (assuming that there is an avenue, don’t be jumping off things for no good reason).
If you’re into relaxing then plan somewhere nice and cozy where you can just cuddle up with a good book (or person 😉 ) and just relax. There are no rules to this; you just have to plan something that’ll get you excited about and go do it.
Also do plan your coming back events as well as have something exciting waiting for you to come back to so that you can just jump right into it once you’ve come back. Have exciting meetings planned out for when you get back from vacation. Tell your co-worker about your holiday plans prior to going on vacation and tell them about it once you’re back.
Again there are no rules to this, just do things that will ultimately make you excited to get up in the morning (although it’s difficult) and come to work. It is much better to drag your feet to work feeling excited than to drag your feet to work feeling sad.
2. Take enough days off
According to a study done in the UK, most people take at least 1.5 days to properly unwind and another 1.5 days to properly flip back to productive mode, we might know that we’re already on vacation but our bodies doesn’t, our brain would have to communicate this whole process to every other cell in our bodies. To tell them to calm down and just relax.
This would mean that you’d have to take a holiday of at least four days to be at an optimal rested mode.
3. When on Vacation Mode Stay on Vacation Mode
Speaking of taking enough rest, it is also very much advisable to remain firmly seated in holiday mode throughout the whole experience of being on holiday. It may be tempting to check in on work every once in a while, but it is utmost importance that we focus on recharging and recuperating. What’s the point of taking time off work to unwind when we continue stressing ourselves out about work? The answer to that is there is no point.
It’s like plugging your phone to charge but every five minutes, you unplug it to go on Facebook. If you keep checking your emails, entertaining calls and catching up on some reading for the office, you’ll not only be wasting your time but also your hard earned money.
Also to all those of you who are basically married to your job, then I suggest you only work when you’re inspired. Work only when you want to, not because you have to. And very much like being married to a person, you would also occasionally need some time away to really appreciate your job.
4. Set a deadline
Set a deadline for the things you want to get done before you go on vacation. Make a list of things that is plausible to finish before you go on vacation and finish it before you go on vacation.
This would also send a message to your brain that it’s time to slow down and stop work. It says that ‘I’ve completed what I have to complete’ giving time for you can relax or have fun to your fullest ability.
After your holiday:
5. Get a trigger item
Get something that is a constant whenever you work. Something that will signal your brain that it is time to work, it could be placing your coffee mug on your table at exactly 9.15am on your desk every morning, it could giving your friend Tim a high five first thing in the morning or it could even be switching your phone to silent mode before you start work.
Do it often enough and your brain would have communicated this message to your subconscious mind that whenever you see/ do this it’s working time! This would help you get into work mode faster and even more seamlessly than ever before.
6. Start early
After coming back from a long holiday there are sometimes (and if I’m being honest it’s most of the time) where we are tempted to hit the snooze button just one more time because the desire to remain in bed is very strong.
However at the back of our mind we know that if we give in to that desire, the rest of our day would also be an endless cycle of lazing around another extra 5 more minutes and that undoubtedly will affect the rest of our week.
When back from holiday it is best to start the work day early. Start extra early your first day back, start at an obnoxious hour like 5am. Most people don’t wake up at 5am during their holidays thus waking up at 5am will shock your body out of the norm and rewire yourself into knowing that you are no longer on holiday.
For this to be possible, it is best if you go to bed slightly earlier than usual the night before. You checking of emails and stressing about the work you’ve got to check up on or stressing that you’ll not be able to wake up the next day.