Are you seeing a lack of motivation in your employees when they return from vacation? Or maybe you’ve just returned to the job after a week away and are having trouble getting back into the swing of things. While many return from a vacation refreshed and reinvigorated, for others, resuming one’s place in the workplace can trigger anxiety, depression, or just a general sense of letdown. Post-vacation return-to-the-job blues is a fairly common phenomena – common enough that even a Pope has admitted difficulty in adjusting to “daily reality, with its concreteness, its problems, its heaviness,” according to an article on post-vacation blues in AMA’s Performance and Profits. Others quotes in the article describe the return to work as a “fun-withdrawal”or liken it to a trip to the dentist after you have avoided it for five years.
Among some of the coping mechanisms they suggest to ease readjustment:
- Schedule your return to give yourself some reentry time
- Start planning your next vacation right away
- Call a co-worker before you return to get a heads up on what to expect
- Bring back a memento and keep it on your desk
Road & Travel likens post-vacation to the letdown that mountain climbers and marathoners often experience after they have a achieved a goal that they worked towards for a long period of time. They offer a variety of tips for readjusting to the real world from Jeff Alt, author of the award-winning “A Walk For Sunshine” and “A Hike For Mike.” Among his tips, he suggests helping your body adapt to any physical changes by eating right, staying fit and easing back to routine slowly. He also suggests having a vacation escape such as a screensaver from your trip and focusing on a plan for your next adventure.
Re-establishing a work routine may not be the only post-vacation challenge – it can be an adjustment for the family, too. Tom Valeo of WebMD says that “…a vacation is like a trip into space. The nerve-wracking blastoff takes place only after weeks of careful planning. Then a few days of serenity and peace are followed by a harrowing re-entry. The old routine may feel like the force of gravity after days of weightlessness — a familiar burden that suddenly feels harder to bear.” He offers a variety of tips to bounce back fast.