How To Recover From Your Summer Vacation
I’ve always believed that the hardest part of vacationing is returning to work from it. This is especially true if you’re in a job that is incredibly stressful—and whose isn’t these days?—and you have a seemingly unending string of deadlines, commitments, and business travel ahead of you. You will, in other words, have to recover from the elation of your summer vacation so that you can re-settle into the humdrum of your professional life.
You should not underestimate the difficulty of doing so. Indeed, if you don’t proceed carefully, you might become as stressed after your vacation as you were before it. Fortunately, there are actions you can take and modes of thinking you can indulge in that will help you ease back into the pace and rhythm of the office.
Although you will not feel like even thinking about emails and text messages until you return to the office, you should take a peek at both before then. It seems natural to do it on the evening before your official return. However, it may be wiser to skim through them on the plane, train, or bus you will take when coming back from your vacation destination. There is no need to start working through your inbox at that time. But getting an early look will give you some sense of what’s waiting for you, and it will help you start to wrap your mind around some of the specific issues you’ll need to attend to.
You may feel that everything needs to be done at once when you return. And you may be pressured into thinking that all the uncompleted tasks that await you are a priority. The fact is they aren’t. Some things can wait, while others require your immediate attention. If you do not put things into a rational order of importance, you will become overwhelmed and of little use to anyone. The ability to think and make sound judgments comes with being a professional. You must always be willing to exercise your right to tell people they have to wait because you need time to study, decide, and act—properly
In connection with this last point, you will be tempted to spend excessively long hours in the office. This comes from a sense of guilt. But you have no reason to feel guilty about going on vacation. And in any case, if you really want to get back into the groove of things in the office, you cannot do it by burning yourself out. Of course you will have to spend extra hours trying to get caught up. However, you should do as much as you can at home. There, you will have some comfort and ease. You will also be able to mix a bit of business with some of the pleasures you enjoyed while on vacation.
Finally, you should continue to enjoy the summer. Just because you’re not on vacation doesn’t mean summer has ended. Cutting yourself off completely from going out and having fun is the equivalent of going cold turkey from an emotional high. You should instead find out what’s on in your city as far as festivals, concerts, and other happenings and go to a few of them. You should also do after-work cocktails as often as you can.
Going from one extreme to the other will throw you into depression. It will intensify the strain you feel in resuming your usual pace. The best way to avoid such unnecessary stress is to mix it up a little. Put yourself out a bit and get as much as you can from the summer scene where you live.
About Christopher Reid Chris was born in Washington, D.C. and lives in Britain. He works as a blogger, essayist, and novelist. His first book, Tea with Maureen, has just been published.