Returning to work after a holiday can be challenging. Prolong the holiday feeling for when you’re back at work with my three tips.
Your diary is full of team catch-up meetings, project debriefs, and client update calls, never mind the mountain of emails you’ve got to wade through. While extending your holiday time is a nice thought, it’s probably not one set in reality. But if you could prolong the holiday feeling for when you’re back to work after a holiday, well, that is certainly within your control.
Now let me clarify. When I talk about prolonging the holiday feeling, I’m not talking about your manager agreeing to a daily ‘cocktail hour’ or sun loungers in the car park. It’s about acknowledging that your emotional well-being equals your capability to perform your role. It’s your energy source powering your performance. And the longer you can prolong this positive energy, the better.
While you’ve been away from the office, your mind, body, and soul have experienced a break from the daily grind and routine. You’ve rested and relaxed, and in doing so, you’re now re-energised to go again.
But this is where the challenge lies. Many people return to work and try to go from zero to productive all at once, usually within the first hour! If you want to avoid the holiday blues and prolong your holiday feeling so that it’s more than just a distant memory, here’s what you can do.
Three tips for returning to work after a holiday
#1 Apply the ‘Performance Zone’ to your working day
The performance zone is when you’re ‘on it’, doing your thing, being the best version of yourself. But before entering the performance zone, a warm-up is critical. Take, for example, running. Before you start your 10K run, you complete a 5 mins walk to get the blood flowing and the heart pumping.
Before you enter your performance zone for the day – the office, the laptop, the mobile – start your warm-up; think about what is worthy of your time for that day, stop and reflect on the trade-offs you are going to have to make to get things done and accept those decisions, write down your to-do items for that particular day.
Having set yourself up for success, you can transition into your performance zone, being and feeling in control of your day and what you need and want to achieve.
Yes, things will fly at you from left field but before you dive into firefighting, take ‘time out’ to apply your warm-up techniques so you can reset your day with these new demands in mind.
#2 Close out your working day in the ‘Recovery Zone.’
The recovery zone is often the zone we miss.
This is where you transition from your performance zone – work – into your personal life. The recovery zone is where you come down from the high or low of the day, reflect on what’s gone well or not gone well, and question what you have learnt new today, which will help you be better tomorrow.
In the recovery zone, you decompress and close down the day so you can shut the door and tune into your personal life; family, hobbies, and outside activities, and be present in the moment.
Often our challenge is that we put little time into the recovery zone, which means we carry the day into our evening, never entirely turning off, and before we know it, it’s morning again!
#3 Maintain your quality downtime
When you’re not working, and it’s your ‘downtime’, switch off phones, tablets, and laptops. Seeing a flashing red light on your phone saying a new email message will not help you switch it off. Your natural curiosity will want to see who it is from and what it is about. And guess what? Once you’ve looked, your mind is switched to the world of work. Which, if you’re not careful, can become a 24/7 habit.
Start to recognise the warning signs that you’re losing the holiday feeling and your well-being may be compromised.
Are you working longer hours every day?
Is this becoming the norm?
Has your workload significantly increased, and it’s not due to a BIG event?
Do you feel you’ve crossed the line between being positively challenged and productive to being overwhelmed and stressed?
If any of these bells are ringing, take action now. You don’t want to spend your days counting down to your next holiday. It could be a long wait!