Getting back into work mode after a long holiday can feel daunting – and yes, post-holiday anxiety is real. But there are many ways to make that transition easier, and even something to look forward to.
According to psychotherapist Ruairi Stewart, being able to switch off completely and unwind is essential, but, “for some people, the thought of returning to a hectic work environment that previously had them tired, exhausted, stressed and anxious can be overwhelming”. People may be discouraged from booking a longer holiday because the thought of returning to a busy schedule can leave them questioning if it’s really worth the trip.
However, experts share why travelling for long periods of time is a great idea to help get out of a funk, destress, and recharge. Birch Psychology has revealed that taking a trip that lasts longer than a week allows your body and mind to get used to being on vacation, take the needed time to relax and filter out the remaining, negative tensions you may be holding onto.
As a PR strategist here at Embryo, my role is extremely fast-paced in order to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of the media and keep up with topical news and trends. After recently travelling to Ibizia for a two-week holiday, I knew it would take some key preparation to jump back on the saddle without feeling overwhelmed. So I wanted to share some of my top tips which made the transition back into work as seamless as possible
Mindset is key
The first hack to getting the most from your annual leave is learning to fully switch off from work mode. Focus on the excitement and positivity boost that your holiday will bring – and remember that you deserve this time.
Make sure you fully prepare and tick off your to-do list before you leave so that you have nothing demanding hanging over your head. I will delve into this a little deeper in this blog, but this is essential for your mental break from work.
Upon your return, adjust your mindset towards work as something to look forward to and get you back into the groove of things. Mental discipline is key and your brain power towards tasks will be further powered up by your break away. Prepare yourself fully to switch back into work mode.
Do to list before you leave
As mentioned earlier, preparing fully ahead of your annual leave will result in a stress-free break away from work. It’s vital that you plan in advance for all the important things that need to be done.
I like to make a list of things from the most important – such as press release completion and sign-off, to client communications – to necessary but less time-dependent tasks, and make sure they’re completed before I leave.
There’s no greater gratification than looking at a ticked-off to-do list before setting your out-of-office email on!
Do a to-do list for after your holiday
One of the biggest dreads when it comes to taking a long break stems from the feeling that there’s just too much to do on your return. We’ve all been there.
But by making a to-do list before you leave, highlighting all the necessary things you know you’ll need to keep on top of, this will help manage the workloads a little easier on your return.
Before you leave, write down the necessary tasks you know will be of importance in your first few days back at work. This will help you compartmentalise and get on top of things. I also find extreme gratification in pre-planning in this way as it gives me motivation and a push to tick off each task
Have clear handovers in place before you leave
The last thing you need is to be worrying about on holiday are deadlines and outstanding tasks. That’s why booking relevant handovers with your team before you leave is so important. A supportive team can help to manage and oversee your workload whilst you are away to make sure things are ticking over nicely.
Be sure to set time aside with your team in order to assign tasks to the relevant people who can assist in your absence – this will ensure peace of mind and continued results for clients.
Getting the majority of your workload prepped, or even completed in advance, and knowing that trusted members in your team will stay on top of urgent tasks, will mean that you can fully enjoy your time away without checking emails.
Use work as a way to get back into sync
Long holidays are a great way to unwind and switch off from the everyday normalities. But it’s difficult to get back into the swing of things when your routine has been all but nonexistent.
I like to see getting back into work as a way to stabilise my normal routine. A work routine helps to implement structure and a sense of control and boosts productivity and focus.
Block out time to catch up
Upon your return, it’s important to set time aside to catch up. This pertains to client catch-ups, clearing your inbox, internal catch-ups and handovers, checking upcoming meetings and events and completing those necessary tasks on your to-do list that you wrote before your holiday.
I like to identify the urgent things compared to the less time-sensitive ones and get through them first.
Don’t feel overwhelmed – just take your time to get through it all. Let your colleagues know that you’ll be blocking off a section of time to get yourself caught up and back into the swing of things.
Well-being and self-care
Returning from a long holiday often goes hand in hand with the ‘holiday blues’. Make sure you prioritise self-care and carve out time for yourself. Here are my top ten tips for boosting mental well-being on your return back to work:
- Get plenty of sleep
- Make time for yourself and the things you enjoy doing
- Eat healthily
- Work out
- Give yourself a day off before you return
- Plan another break to look forward to
- Stay hydrated
- Pamper yourself
- Set intentions to boost motivation
- Learn a new skill