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Post Vacation Blues

We just came back from a national holiday, July 4th. Since the holiday was mid-week this year, many folks I know either took or got the day before off to make it a 4-day weekend. Since some companies unofficially give their employees an early out ahead of a long holiday weekend, most folks enjoyed a 4- or 4.5-day weekend and came back to a short work week. Some may have even decided to take the full week off.  Vacations are magical; we should all take them!  We certainly all need them; it’s a tough world out there!  I use mine mostly to recharge, but this time I had a packed schedule and did not get a chance to really relax.  So, this week, I find it harder than usual to get back into the swing of things. Coming back to a normal schedule after time off is hard and the shift in mindset from relaxing to a more structured, productive day can be challenging.

Let’s face it- when we go on vacation or take a few days break our mindset shifts!! We find our inner child and focus on relaxation, enjoyment, and a break from responsibilities. Even waking up without an alarm is luxurious; not to mention late nights with friends or even simply binge watching a show.  Ahhh, the freedom!  Most importantly, vacations are opportunities to create memorable experiences, and it’s natural to feel a sense of attachment to those moments. On vacation, we often experience immediate gratification from fun activities, so what’s not to like?!  The downside is that vacations disrupt our typical routines, introducing new sleep patterns, mealtimes, and activities along with that relaxed mindset.  So, it’s easy to see why it’s hard to “pay the piper” and get back to a normal routine after some time off!  At least, that’s what I told myself when the alarm went off on Wednesday morning 😕.

I woke up after the holiday feeling like I had a huge mountain to climb.  Although I did not go away for the long weekend, it was a busy one filled with activities with friends and family.  I even worked a little, but on my own terms.  So, re-entering a more structured day was a difficult transition.  It took me a few hours of wrestling with the “I don’t feel like doing this” and “where is my motivation” demons before I started to embrace the transition and view my day more positively.

What did I learn from this? If I started my day in a more positive frame of mind, ready to embrace the transition from lazy days to a more structured, productive one, I would have had a smoother, more pleasant reentry.  Still not as much fun as a vacation, but we all must come back to reality eventually!  Next time, I’m going to plan my re-entry a little better.  A few hours to plan out my return, but overall kept it relatively light.  I think by doing this, I give myself the chance to look forward to a transition back to my normal routine while keeping that “vacation” feeling.

Returning from a vacation doesn’t have to mean bidding farewell to the relaxation and joy you experienced. By embracing the transition, setting intentions, starting small, prioritizing self-care, maintaining a positive mindset, and planning future adventures, you can easily get back in the swing of things. Remember, the end of a vacation is just the beginning of your next chapter, filled with new opportunities, growth, and the chance to make each day count.

“The art of life lies in a constant readjustment to our surroundings.” – Kakuzo Okakura

How did you start the second half of 2023?

Have a great weekend.