It is that time of the year again when festivities are in the air, and markets— traditional and online –are bedecked with special offers and attractive deals. There is a celebratory atmosphere everywhere with people excited about celebrating the holiday season with their loved ones, starting with Dusshera and Diwali to Thanksgiving and Christmas. But the thought of returning to work after celebrations can seem daunting. The festive fatigue, the late-night parties and get-togethers, the family visits, and shopping fervor can all take a toll on the mind and body, making one more tired at the end of the holidays than they had imagined.
Post-vacation blues or festival/ vacation fatigue are for real. As much as we all need breaks and holidays, the day or week after often leaves us wondering whether the joy of all the celebration is worth the pain of returning to work. Between the email gridlock, the pain of readjustment, and the fight to get back to your schedule after festivities, many of us complain that they need another vacation to recover from the one they just took and getting back into a work groove.
It is perfectly normal to feel drained after taking a few days off. The good news is that there are easy ways to beat this stress or avoid it altogether. Here are some:
- Work hard, but don’t party harder
The focus should be on maintaining a balance. If you go overboard with your celebrations, it will not only weaken your ability to bounce back to work later but will also impact your general well-being. Keeping your meals balanced, staying hydrated, exercising a little when you get the time, and getting adequate sleep and rest is vital to enjoy every holiday moment and return to work easily. Resist the temptation to binge on festive food that you know is not good for your health in the long run. Indulge but with caution.
- Plan ahead and prepare a task list
A reality check a day before returning to work or in the first hour of the morning when you get back to the office can be very helpful. Make a list of tasks to complete within the next few days, and prioritize them for faster deliveries per deadlines and commitments made to clients or your reporting manager. With a to-do list in your planner and some sticky notes on the workstation, it becomes easier to focus on responsibilities and manage them one by one.
- Keep expectations “real” for the first week
Don’t try to achieve all at once. After a dip in your energy levels and focus, to type furiously on the keyboard and brainstorm for business strategies in meeting rooms, you will need some time to get back into the groove again. If you were able to prepare two project reports a day before you went for a break, do not feel discouraged if you can manage just one for the first two or three days after returning to work. At the same time, though, put in sincere efforts to improve your productivity step by step.
- Interact with others, even if you don’t want to
When they get back together, some of your colleagues may love to talk about their holiday experiences, festive celebrations, and trips to different destinations. Such casual conversations during coffee breaks help you to bond better with your co-workers and realize that after spending quality time with friends and family, the reality of “back to work” applies to everyone—not just you. Even if you prefer your own company, make an effort to interact at least occasionally with others. Your corporate life will require you to collaborate and derive successful outcomes with coordinated teamwork.
- Go to work with fresh eyes and a new mindset
After a break from your routine workflows, you can always come back with new ideas for handling specific challenges. You can look at old problems with a fresh perspective and address them more innovatively. It is also worthwhile to change the arrangements on your work desk. If you have returned from a scenic town, keeping one of its framed pictures on the table can motivate you to work more diligently – so that you can afford another vacation to revisit the place after a few months.
- Take breaks during the day
Swinging into work mode and chaining yourself to continuous tasks sans any breaks will slowly lead to burnout. Even machines need to decompress every now and then. You cannot overexert your mental and physical self just to achieve more in a short span of time. Be kind to yourself and take at least five to ten minutes breaks every three hours to decompress and relax. If your eyes feel tired after gazing at the screen continually, you can use over-the-counter drops to lubricate them once a day.
All work and no play make Jack a dull boy. Don’t be Jack.
You may be returning to work after a festive season or a short holiday that you afforded from your leave balance; the first few days of changing the schedule will always seem difficult. Just remember that it happens with everyone, and you will be able to adjust soon. Remember that holidays are well-earned and often essential to connect one with their raison d’être. And like the sub-head, you don’t want to be Jack and only focus on work.
With conscious efforts and planning, one can easily bounce back in the workplace with the same drive they went on a holiday. The volume of unread emails will eventually go down, the backlogs will begin to clear, the switch back to work life (that brings you money to spend on vacations) will be for real, and the memories—priceless.