So, you’re back from annual leave, feeling sun-kissed, relaxed and still recalling those funny, wonderful moments that never get caught on camera. Priceless memories to cherish from your one, two, or for those lucky ones, three weeks of annual leave. I can hear the collective sigh of delight.
Now what? Many of us can get the holiday blues and can feel the dread of ‘having to get back into work mode’ and feeling daunted as to what Monday morning will bring. Often as we get ourselves ready for the working weeks ahead, and as we put away our holiday clothes, it’s as if we are signaling to ourselves that in fact, we’re putting away our enjoyment, our relaxation, and our me or family time till next year. We can feel the anxiety creeping up as Monday morning looms, having anxious thoughts, not being able to sleep, getting tense, having a jittery stomach alongside internal chatter about what we should or must do to get ourselves ready. Some of us will even attempt to ease the pain by checking our emails on Sunday night, to sift through the urgent to unimportant to make the next day more bearable.
Over the years we’ve probably all found useful strategies to help us move from the transition of holiday to work. Here are a few that have helped me:
- Create a list of what you must get done that week. Prioritise one a day, giving yourself permission to leave the rest for the following week. We often come back believing we have to do it all – and now! When in fact there is often only 20% of items on our list that really matters. So what are your 20%?
- Build in some transition time, by beginning with the end in mind. When you have your return date, don’t aim for lots of meetings, key delivery items, or tight deadlines, instead plan your time to allow for catching up with emails and with colleagues.
- Remember what you love about your job. When we remind ourselves of our purpose, the bits of our work that makes a difference we can begin to connect with our motivation for why we are here and choose to stay here.
- Keep the holiday feeling alive for as long as you can by sharing stories, and pictures, or by wearing some of your holiday clothes. Bringing your whole self to work includes bringing the sun-tanned version of you who likes to try new foods and go on adventurous activities. Having souvenirs or holiday memories helps to release natural highs in our bodies which improves our mood, positivity and happiness.
- Book some desk-tidying time in your day. Even if you’ve left your desk tidy, we know that tidying up, and giving our desk a wipe helps us to feel back in control and signals our mind that we are getting ready to work.
- Keep to your breaks! Don’t feel tempted to catch up from your holiday by skipping coffee breaks and your usual lunch-time catch-up with gang. Just like getting back to the gym after a few weeks, you need to build yourself up to reduce the risk of injury or in this case, burnout.
- Shake things up! Taking a break from work gives us an opportunity to look at our go-to-habits such as having a coffee and cake in the afternoon or tackling a work issue the same way. Holidays give us a chance to view the situation from a new perspective, to put in a pause to ask ourselves ‘what would be a better way of doing this?’
- Plan your next holiday. Many people quite easily come from one holiday with the next one in mind, but not all of us. Holidays are a natural timestamp in our year and give us a healthy sense of anticipation and something to look forward to, keeping us motivated during the cold and dark winter nights.
At the end of the day, many of us will get the holiday blues and feel we’ve lost our work mojo. But just like jet lag, it doesn’t last forever and with the right strategies in place to help us overcome those first few hours and days, we can quickly get back to our productive, motivated, and happy working self.
And if you’re still struggling – then why not give me a call and I’ll help you regain your work confidence and get you back into your personal groove.