Gosh it can be hard to drag yourself out of bed after a long weekend, or in my case a glorious 10-day vacation exploring the landscape of Colorado.
Studies show, the health benefits of taking vacation vastly outweigh suffering through long hours and heavy workloads without a break. But making it happen can be hard. My husband Bob hadn’t taken a week off all year, and it showed. He was tired, lacking energy and not bringing his best self to the day. He is not alone!
According to an article in Inc., a recent survey found that “the average U.S. employee takes only half of their allotted vacation time…Even among those who actually do go on vacation, three in five admitted to doing some work. A quarter were contacted by a coworker while they were on vacation, and 20 percent were contacted by their supervisor about a work-related issue.”
According to the article, scientific research shows taking time off:
- Reduces stress, which lasts beyond vacation time (and we all know how stress can manifest itself into physical ailments, so the more we can alleviate that, the less likely to get chronic diseases).
- Prevents heart disease and promotes cardiovascular health. Apparently, the risk of heart disease is a lot higher in those who skip vacations, than those who take them.
- Improves quality sleep by interrupting the patterns that hinder our ability to sleep and give ourselves a break.
- Increases productivity and focus. “An Ernst and Young study found that for each additional 10 hours of vacation time employees took, their year-end performance ratings improved 8 percent. What's more, frequent vacationers were significantly less likely to leave the firm.” Plus, more productive people tend to be happier. So, if you’re an employer, you may want to encourage your staff to book that vacay right away!
Some companies take it very seriously. Arianna Huffington’s company, for example, uses software that deletes emails from the inbox of someone on vacation, notifying the sender ““Thank you for your email. I am out of the office through August 27. For anything urgent re Thrive Global please email [Thrive employee’s name and email]. Otherwise, please email me again when I return as this email will be deleted.”
Genius! This puts the responsibility on the sender to really consider whether that email important enough to send to someone on vacation when he/she returns, instead of leaving the person on break to stress over an imploding inbox.
Even if you prioritize breaks, coming off vacation can be such a bummer. The challenge of re-entering the workasphere afterwards can be difficult, leading to feelings of overwhelm, post-vacay depression, and making us wonder if taking the time off was worth it.
To address that, I’m sharing some of my favorite tips and tricks to ease back into life post-vacay:
- Arrive home at least 24 hours before you have to go back to work. Think of it as a one-day staycation! This will give you time to get (somewhat) back into a routine, and not feel rushed and stressed the night before going back to work.
- This is especially helpful when adjusting to a time difference.
- Unpack and put your stuff away. Nothing like staring at a bursting suitcase to stress you out – don’t do it!
- If possible, do laundry while away so when you arrive home you’re putting away clean clothes instead of tasked with loads of dirty clothes to deal with.
- Restock the fridge and food shop so you’ll have access to healthful food, especially if you’ve been unable to stick with your usual dietary routine while away.
- Power through snail mail, sorting and prioritizing anything that needs to be addressed.
- Make a work to-do list – not everyone agrees with me on this, but my emails do not get automatically deleted while I’m away, so I find the transition back to work so much easier if I scan my emails and make a list of which ones to prioritize my first day back. This prevents me from getting overwhelmed by my inbox.
- Have something to look forward to – the next vacay, a visit with friends or date night. Put it on the calendar!
And when a couple of days back, you feel those inevitable post-vacay blues seep in, take a deep breath and visualize one of your favorite moments from a recent time off. Spend a few minutes to take yourself back there, and allow that feeling to take over your entire body, including a smile on your face. Breathe it in deeply. Step away from the desk, take a brief walk, and/or have a glass of your go-to hydrating liquid (and I don’t mean tequila!). You’ll bounce back fast from that time away with energy and it will show!
Marjorie, Chief MOJO Maker™