Re-surfacing: returning to work after a long holiday

August 11th, 2015 by Patricia Jehle Leave a reply »


We as a family have just had more than two weeks of holiday. It’s been great, but returning to the job can be difficult if you attack the workload too quickly. Sometimes returning to work can be emotionally or physically difficult, especially if you have really had a mental break from your every-day schedule. It can feel like you are a deep-sea diver coming to the surface again, facing a foreign world from where you have recently been. Here are some things I try to do to make the re-adjustment smooth; maybe you can do them too!


Start on a Wednesday, or even Thursday

Make your first work-week lighter by only working a few days, or perhaps schedule something “fun” first, such as a training day, or a team building day where you have no choice but to ignore your email list.


Alternatively, check the email list immediately when you return (at home – and be brutal with your triage, no replies, just deletes).


Start slowly, with lowered expectations

Do not plan a long first day or two, but slowly get into your list of “to-dos”; don’t expect to get finished with your list, but try to focus on one or two key goals for the first few days. Remember to reacquaint yourself with the team, the space, and the food, too. Perhaps you have a souvenir you want to put on your desk to remind you of the great time you have just had.


Revisit your vacation memories

Speaking of souvenirs, maybe you want to review your photos, or try and make that green curry you learned to make in cooking class. As a family, we always bring back food and the most recent trip was to places that allowed us to have an awesome “German Vesper” with sausages, cheeses, spreads, wonderful bread – and of course, great beer. The meal was away for us to re-live the holiday experience in our own home, and was a way to anchor it in our memories.


Have or make future holiday plans

Not only are we attending a wedding at the end of the month, but we already have plans for a week away together in the fall, not to mention some friends are visiting next week and some family are visiting next month. So, although we will be working, we have very positive activities to look forward to. This helps when work gets tough: we can look ahead to the next mini-break (a weekend away celebrating a marriage of friends) and to the next longer break in October. These plans help make the days pass with positive thoughts.


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