I once had a guy tell me that breaking up with each other was like the feeling you get at the end of summer camp. I apparently lived a sad childhood because I never went to summer camp but I can imagine it’s the same feeling you get when your vacation ends and you have to go back to work. You’re in a hazy, sun-kissed state of sadness, confusion and not ready to wake up the next morning and figure everything out.
Some people say they feel refreshed after a long vacation and I while I do, too, I am mostly grumpy that it’s over. I’ve recently been traveling much more than I normally do and have faced this feeling three times in the past two months, which is enough to make me want to move somewhere warm with a pool so I can “vacation” all the time.
Getting back into the groove of reality is never easy, but I’ve definitely discovered some ways to make the transition (read: whiplash) less of a shock. These are a few things I do so when that final day comes, you’re more focused on showing off your new tan to your co-workers and less stressed about the 7 a.m. wake-up call.
1. Take off an extra day
A day of normalcy in between vacation and going back to work is completely necessary in my mind. Knowing you don’t have to wake up 8 hours after you land at the airport makes all the difference if you can swing another day (or just plan accordingly so your final vacay day is at home). This will help you reorganize your life (aka get groceries, do laundry, unpack, etc.). We recently came home from South Carolina after being gone for a week and loved lounging at home and settling back into New York for a bit before jumping back into our responsibilities.
2. Order your groceries online
If you can’t afford to take a day off in between, I’d recommend ordering your groceries using Instacart or Fresh Direct so you have fresh food at your door when you come home. For me, if I don’t grocery shop on Saturday or Sunday, it will never happen, and coming home from vacation to an empty fridge until the weekend will just add to your sadness.
3. Weed through work emails
If you can access your work email from home, it’s very helpful to take 15 minutes and go through all of the messages you missed while you were OOO. Since work doesn’t wait for you to catch up on the previous week, you’ll be thanking yourself when you can focus on the current day’s work instead of playing catch-up. I do this the night before I go in and flag anything I need to respond to for the next morning when I’m actually on the clock.
4. Clean your apartment/house before you go on vacation
I am always extra crazed before a vacation because in addition to wrapping up everything at work, I like to clean like a mad woman at home. There’s simply nothing better than coming home to a nice, clean house. You’ll feel relief when it’s one less thing you need to focus on.
5. Try to wake up around the same time everyday
We were really good about waking up early in South Carolina, which definitely helped when I got back and had to wake up for work. Plus, you get to enjoy even more of your vacation when you’re an early riser.
What do you do to get back into work mode after vacation? Would love to hear more ideas!