Taking time for vacations as a working mom is one of the best ways to reconnect with family and yourself while resting and taking a much-needed break.
Your time away can feel magical, but inevitably the time comes when you have to prepare for the first day back to work return to work.
All of a sudden, your good time feelings turn into stress that threatens all the work you did to find calm! Not to worry, in this post I’ll share the simple steps I take to get ready for work after a vacation as well as my simple framework for keeping the calm of vacation even amid the chaos of day-to-day life.
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Why is it so hard to go back to work after vacation?
The problem that most of us have in coming back to work after vacation is often two-fold.
The first reason is that vacation does exactly what vacation is supposed to do. It breaks up our normal mindset of striving and busyness and allows us to slow-down.
This feeling of slower living is contrary to the current work culture which leads to the second reason why going back to work after vacation is difficult. That is, trying to maintain the benefits of vacation mode while in the midst of a culture that is addicted to hustle.
The sweet spot for overcoming the hurdle of returning to work is in really turning the calm of vacation into a lifestyle you take with you every day!
Tips for Crushing your first day back to work after vacation
Rocking your first day back to work after a vacation doesn’t have to be overwhelming or stressful.
In fact, if you take the time to follow these simple tips, you’ll find that getting back into work mode is actually pretty easy!
Here are the 8 steps that are crucial for me to get back into the swing of things at work after a relaxing vacation.
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1. Prepare your mind
Reconnect with your career goals and evaluate how they fit into your overall life plans. This can help you to put the quick pace into perspective and give you the edge you need to not be overcome by the busyness when you return.
Preparing your mind also requires you to do some pre-planning. Take account of tasks that you need to do to be prepared for work. Including, washing and preparing clothes for yourself and anyone else you are responsible for, meal prepping, and even outsourcing some tasks that can help you ease into the swing of a quicker pace.
2. Get plenty of rest the night before
Do not stay up all night. Whether that is due to worrying or preparing, the best thing you can do the night before getting back to work is to be fully rested.
This could require some planning before vacation. For example, if you are traveling out of time, try to return a day before you have to be at work. This one simple trick has made all the difference for me as aging has necessitated much more preparation than I required when I was younger with fewer responsibilities.
Having a dedicated nighttime routine that includes relaxing activities can help ensure that you get the rest you need before having to return to work.
3. Set your alarm early and take your time getting ready
In addition to a dedicated nighttime routine, having a simple but energizing morning routine can help you crush your first day back to work.
This morning routine doesn’t have to be exaggerated either. It could be as simple as 30 minutes to wash your face and sit with your favorite warm drink and book. You just want to start your morning on your terms and not at the whims of the day.
Looking for more tips on time management? Check out all of our productivity resources
4. Eat a healthy breakfast to give you energy for the day
I am guilty of trying to save time by skipping breakfast. Don’t do this.
You need all the energy you can get, especially when you are getting back into the swing of a busier pace.
A healthy breakfast will help increase your focus and concentration so that you can be productive from the minute you start work. Regularly incorporating this into your morning routine can help ensure that this important meal isn’t missed.
5. Be reasonable with your to-do list
You can not do everything! You do not need to do everything! You should not feel like you are being punished for going on vacation.
Ease yourself back into productivity and don’t allow your list to be high-jacked. You will not be able to put out every fire the day you return to work after a long vacation. (I double down on this for moms returning from maternity leave!!)
Be reasonable about working through tasks in a methodical and sustainable way!
6. Focus on prioritizing and creating a plan of action instead of jumping into putting out fires
This is a continuation of the previous tip. When you return to work, you will most likely find that there are a few tasks that need your immediate attention.
Instead of jumping right into the action and putting out these proverbial fires, take a step back and assess what needs to be done first.
Once you have prioritized, you can then create a plan of action that will help you to work through each task systematically. This will help to prevent you from feeling overwhelmed and stressed as you try to get back into the swing of things.
7. Take breaks as needed
You are not a machine. You cannot work non-stop without taking breaks. It is important to take breaks as needed to maintain your focus and concentration.
This could mean taking a few minutes every hour to step away from your desk and move around or it could mean taking a long break in the middle of the day. Need ideas for calming tasks to do? Try these:
- Complete a breathing routine
- Take a quick walk around the block
- Write in a journal
- Get a cup of tea
- Listen to a song
8. Give yourself grace
Most importantly, give yourself grace. You are returning to work after a long vacation. It is going to take some time to ease back into the swing of things.
Do not expect yourself to be operating at full capacity from the moment you step back into the office. Allow yourself some time to readjust and get back into the groove of things. Cut yourself some slack and be patient with yourself.
You got this!
Keep your vacation feeling all year long!
Returning from vacation can be hard, but it’s not impossible. With a little preparation and self-awareness, you can make the transition back to work smoother for both you and your team.
We hope these tips help and that you enjoy reconnecting with your loved ones over the holidays! If you need more support in making the return to work after vacation less daunting, join us on Instagram where we connect with working moms like you every day.