Summer vacations are so needed, we all waited to go out, “recharge batteries”, relax and enjoy time with loved ones, safely. It is usually not a time to think about duties, tasks or any job-related things.
And yet, there can be some moments of adaptation anxiety at return. Feeling “unplugged” for a while, overwhelming number of emails waiting for you, piles of documents or new tasks to tackle at return can erode the “zen” relaxed state you came back with.
What I recommend are few things you can do even while you are on vacation, to smooth up the re-adaptation process at return:
– Take your running/fitness shoes with you. Yes…to ease up the accommodation at return, it is important to maintain some of your routine activities from outside vacation. Like running or even simple exercising, or light walking. It depends, of course, on the type of vacation you are in, but if you mostly sit on a beach in the sun all day, it would be good to get some movement when this is possible, otherwise you get stuck in the ‘all together’ program and may end barely moving the entire day. So, get out (run or jogg) for a coffee in your vacation village or surroundings in the morning, until kids or other family members wake up. It will give you some time alone with yourself, it will also give you a boost for the entire day, and you get to know the local atmosphere more intimately.
– Understand that on vacation you will eat and drink more! More than in your daily life. And it is not about the quantity of the food as it is about the relaxed atmosphere and undelayed gratification. Accept this fact, it will only create more stress if you fight it. It would be perfect if you can refrain from eating that ice cream or that pizza, but nobody is perfect! Do not bitch about it, ruminate for days or “punish” yourself by thinking low about your body or mental strengths. Do not complain at return about your weight either. Even the ones who lead the most healthy eating lifestyle get some weight on vacations. If gaining weight is that uncomfortable, you will know what to do better next time (such as replace that crave for a cake with a self-validating conversation with a loved one, a pleasant walk or a gameplay that you enjoy a lot).
– Get enough sleep, more than during workdays. But keep your mind and body busy from time to time, as well. Combine mental and physical activities. Combine rest with active recovery. Do not abandon the usage of the brain nor your body muscles. Read something every day. Listen to a podcast. Do crosswords. You should not keep yourself busy all the time unless this is meaningful to you. I am not saying you should, but if you are really the “workoholic” type, with control issues or even some sense of guilt that you are blessed with rest and fun while your colleagues are working, it may be an option to put aside 15-30minutes every day just to check emails for the most important messages or information. And even respond to one or two. In this way, you do not work all day and in the same time you keep yourself up to date to what goes on in your office, so that you’d not feel entirely ‘shut down’ or missing out on most important things.
Some of our most enjoyable memories are about relationships and about going on vacations. Vacations should all be about resting your mind and body. But even to rest is to do something. Active rest may be an option as well, and you get to keep your mind in focus and your body in shape as well. Vacations with plenty of rest rewire our brain and help us feel better, healthier, they are essential to our wellbeing. They are essential also for renewal and to rebuild energies for a new period of work to come.