By Shefa Ali
Most people look forward to vacation, a week or two of exploring a new country, relaxing on the beach, doing nothing or going to visit family. I can’t do ‘nothing’ for very long, so I tend to continue with client sessions while I am travelling, simply because I love my work so much.
But I know for many, going back to work after a vacation can make you feel overwhelmed. That post-vacation serenity seems to disappear the moment you step on the plane to fly home.
With a little pre-vacation strategic planning for your first few days back, I believe it’s possible to still have a smile and relaxed demeanour after returning to life and work after a vacation.
Over the last few days of your vacation, make a short priority list for the first things you plan to tackle upon your return. Priorities at work can change, but starting from a list gives you a better starting point.
Clean up before you leave. This applies to both your workplace and your home. At work, file away those contracts that have been sitting in a stack on the floor and organise the memos on your desk. At home, spend an hour tidying up. I know that your brain is already on vacation mode and it’s tough to focus on everyday chores, but your post-vacation self will thank you. Be sure you take the trash out, clean out the fridge and vacuum. Personally, I like to check my pantry and stock up on simple non-perishable snacks.
If you can, try to give yourself a buffer day in between your return home and going back to work after vacation. It may seem counter-intuitive to use a vacation day for simply being at home, but strategically; it gives you the space to get back to normal with minimal pressure. The extra day can be used for catching up on laundry, meal planning for the week, and napping to get over the jet lag. None of it is glamorous, but taking care of those tasks can make your re-entry to work much smoother.
Do an online supermarket shop and plan to get it dropped off when you arrive home. That way you can avoid that midnight jetlag-powered kitchen raid for chips and chocolate and skip the take out.
Wait a few days, before you start your post vacay detox. With airplane travel, time zone changes, different foods, and different activity patterns, your body and mind are already going through significant stress. Don’t add to it with challenging exercise routines or dramatic diet changes. Even if you feel that you overindulged on vacation, resist the urge to sign up for a Crossfit boot camp right away. Ease your way back with a couple of yoga classes, a swim, or a light exercise routine.
The secret to keeping your sanity upon returning from vacation is a combination of smart preparation and strategic triage.
* The author is a Life & Business coach. Instagram handle: @miss_shefa, Website: missshefa.com
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