Post Vacation Blues? 11 Tips to Ease Back into Work

19/6/2013 |

Post vacation blues can make getting back into work mode challenging. Perhaps you have gotten acclimatized to extra wine and calories, or late nights and sleep-ins, making the reality of 6:30am work alarms a bit jarring. I suspect there is a formula that states: the better the vacation the harder it is to get back to work.

Vacation Blues - Going Back to Work

I recently returned from 3 heavenly days at a fabulous resort where I got accustomed to massages, decadent meals and a lack of schedule. Coming home to a mountain of email, a backlog of voicemail and what felt like a daunting to-do list was quite the adjustment.

The vacation was truly extraordinary – a perfect mini break with my sister. The only bump in the road was literally a very bumpy 50 kilometre pot-holed dirt road leading to the resort where we saw bear, moose, deer and a marmot. It was worth the bumpy ride to end up at a stunning, serene ranch where we experienced incredible service, beautiful views, and heavenly locally grown food.

When I returned to work I had more than a few hours of overwhelm and resistance to get back to it. I thought I had a pretty decent system in place to help smooth the re-entry process, but it wasn’t perfect and I decided to make it better for future. Here is my checklist for easy re-entry to work after returning from vacation:

Preventative Measures: It’s OK to Tell a Small White Lie

Plan: notify key clients that you will be gone and clear up anything urgent BEFORE you go.

Email Notification: use your vacation responder (Gmail) or out of office alert (Outlook) to inform people you are away and for how long. Even tell a tiny white lie and extend the email notification to one day past your return date. This buys you a little cushion of time to ease back into the swing of things once you return.

Don’t forget to change your voicemail (like I did!) to match your email notification too.

Email… to check or not to check?

Do what you need to do in order to relax. If it stresses you to be cut off completely, then designate a short period of time each day to peek at email. Better yet, have someone check for you and only notify you of pre-determined kinds of emergencies.

If you are a Solopreneur with no assistant, get someone to cover for you. When I was a Professional Organizer I used to cover for a few of my ‘competitors’. I Loved it! I would answer their calls and emails and promote their services. Find someone you trust to do the same for you. It’s a great way to gain insight into how others in your industry work.

Back to Work, Back to Reality…

Start early on your first back. Try to sneak in an hour or so before the majority of your team to get a jumpstart on your day. Remember, much time will be spent recounting trip details once everyone sees you are back.

The magic formula: plan for approximately one hour of catch-up for every day you were away.

Keep your calendar clear for your first few days back – leaving pockets of time for your assistant or management team to catch up on any pressing needs.

Acknowledge anyone who covered for you! You may need them to do it again in the future.


Be gentle and set reasonable expectations for yourself. Maybe you are fighting jet lag, sunburn or alcohol withdrawal… whatever your malady, be kind to yourself as you ease back into your regular routine.

And lastly, drink lots of water. I am not sure if this has any relevance to making it easier to return from vacation, but it’s generally good advice!

Vacations are meant to refresh. The better prepared you are to return to work, the more you will be able to enjoy your time off.

Left Wanting More?

4 Ways to Keep Going When You Really, Really Don’t Want To – Think Productive UK

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Stop Waiting for a ‘Good Time’ to Take a Vacation and Just Go – Lifehacker


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