Going on vacation- no matter what kind it is or how long it lasts for- is a great way to relax and unwind from the stresses of work and the routines of our lives, to discover new places, and to create new memories whether it be a solo vacation or with others. However, once the vacation or holiday is done, more often than not, we have a hard time adjusting back to the routines of everyday life and work, especially as we still have a “hangover” of sorts from our great holiday and wish we were back on holiday again. This is true for everybody, but I noticed that compared to others, my adjustment period takes a little bit longer, but it gets there eventually. So, I decided to list down my top five tips to help you bounce back into your regular routine after going on vacation.
However, before we get into the list, here are some pre-vacation pro-tips that might come in handy:
Pro Tip 1: If you can, try to schedule vacations or stay-cations near the weekend, so going on leave on a Thursday or Friday would be better; and going back to work some where during the beginning of the work week, Monday-Wednesday, would be better. Again, it may be different for others, but it works for me.
Pro Tip 2: Before going on vacation, it would be good to take care of all of the immediate tasks that need your attention; turnover things to the one who will fill in for you if there is; create out of office emails; and determine, based on your own pace how long it’ll take you to ease back into work, and how long it would take to get back into your other life routines such as going back to the gym.
And now, without further ado, here are my tips on how to bounce back to routine after going on vacation:
1. Unpack (Figuratively & Literally)
One of the best ways to psyche yourself into thinking that your vacation has truly ended and that you will be going back into your daily routine is to unpack, both figuratively and literally. When you come home from a trip abroad, or your one or two night stay-cation at a hotel or AirBnB, unpacking your bag and organizing your things right away will help give you that sense that the vacation is done, and it gives you that sense as well that you are in control of how your are feeling at the moment. Putting unpacking your bags off will only allow you to remember the vacation that you had, and you will feel that there’s something still unfinished from that vacation you took.
Also, whether or not you went somewhere or had a two day stay-cation at home, its also good to unpack figuratively by writing all your thoughts about the time you had off in a journal. Doing so will help you put a capper on it, and will help you feel be more ready to go back to your daily routine.
2. Have A “Buffer” Period
This tip is especially true when you go on vacation abroad or you know that you will be physically exhausted during your vacation due to the activities you will be doing on vacation-whether it be exploring by walking around a new city or swimming at the beach. When you come back, you will still initially feel a bit tired, so it is better to schedule a few more days off to rest before jumping right back into your daily routine and work, so that you can return to it refreshed and with you being able to give yourself 100%. After all, you can only be productive if you yourself are in a good condition.
Based on where the vacation was, what you did on vacation, and your own knowledge on how long you know your body needs to rest a bit, you should be able to determine how many days would be good for you. As for me, I’ve learned that I need around two to three days of rest as a buffer period before I can be in good enough condition to start jumping back in to my daily routine. And, of course, its different for every case, especially when the buffer period includes time to adjust due to jet lag.
3. List Down All Tasks & Calendar Events That Need Your Attention
Right before jumping back into your daily routine and work, it is good to check your to do lists and your calendar to see if there are any tasks and schedules that need your attention right away.
Checking your to do list and your calendar and writing them down in order of priority will allow you to see which things you need to focus on first, and will help you from feeling too overwhelmed when you get back to your daily routine and work. If the item on your to do list is a big one, it would also help to break it down into more actionable smaller steps that you can list out and schedule out depending on when that item is due.
4. Take It One Step At a Time
There are always many things that we will need to catch up on when you come back from vacation, but if you try doing everything all at the same time, you might get too overwhelmed with everything you need to do. Instead, it is better to take it one step and one task at a time, depending on the priority of the task. Based on your own pacing, you can also figure out which areas of your daily life and routine comes first in terms of adjustment.
For me, I decided that I would adjust to work first, as there were deadlines that were coming up; and then my daily routines, which included sleeping at a particular time; and finally, my weekly routine, which includes going to the gym during the weekend.
5. Remember That It’s Okay to Take it Slowly, But Still Be Productive
And finally, please remember that its okay to take it at your own pace, even though it may not be as fast as you want it to be. Sometimes, taking it step by step and at your own pace allows you to be more productive and more successful in accomplishing the tasks that you need to do rather than doing everything at once but accomplishing nothing or not being able to do well in other tasks as you got too overwhelmed or tired out. However, it is important to make sure that you don’t use it as a convenient excuse to not do those tasks at all.
So, when you feel guilty about not going as fast or bouncing back as fast as others, just remember the fable of the tortoise and the hare- even though the tortoise went slow, he was able to win in the end.
I hope that these tips were helpful in terms of helping you bounce back to routine after a vacation. Do you have any other tips that might be helpful in bouncing back to routine? How do you bounce back to routine after coming from vacation? Let me know in the comments below!