Recovering from Post-Travel Depression

Beautiful forest we hiked through on our way to Bridal Veil Falls.

There seems to be a diagnosis for everything, including the slightly blue feeling one gets after returning from vacation and realizing the “to-do” list is still there and probably longer before.

Perhaps the hardest thing about coming back from vacation is getting back into the routine of work.  We didn’t have any lazy days on our vacation, but instead of sitting in front of a computer, we walked, biked and hiked.  Lunches were as long or as short as we wanted to make them, instead of timed. They didn’t have to be scheduled around meetings or tasks, but were instead taken when we were ready for them.

Full stop:  I had to take a quick break from writing this post to answer the phone.  Before 9:00 am I have booked and confirmed a full-day training session with a returning customer.  What is this thing called PTD??

Now back to the original programming …

For those times when a new opportunity is not secured before the official start to day one after coming back from vacation, here are three tips on how to get back into your routine:

  1. Spend some time upfront catching up.  Call your mom, your dad, and your friends.  Extend the pleasant memories.  When you get to work, don’t head straight for your desk.  Recognize that others are going to want to hear about your travels.  If it’s hard for you to put off tackling the piles of paper or the waiting emails, perhaps head in a bit early to get caught up and prioritize the list before taking some time to reconnect.
  2. Speaking of emails, if you can, take some time the night before to go through and quickly go through them.  Delete and prioritize as necessary.  I actually took a few minutes each morning and evening during my vacation to do that as it made this morning much less daunting.
  3. Schedule some time to look over all the pictures.  Too often, we get back into our routine and the good feeling that comes with vacation gets forgotten and buried in the routine.  Taking time to remember, talk and laugh brings those feelings back.
  4. Try to give yourself a day in between arriving home and heading into the office.  That gives you time to catch up on laundry and restocking the fridge.  Get up as if you were going to work.  Have lunch at the “normal” time and go to bed at your normal time.  I know, I’m not actually doing this one, but as my office is at home, I can get that done during the commute time I no longer have.  I deliberately don’t schedule any client meetings or training sessions for day one after vacation though.

What are some things you do to help get you back into your routine after vacation?

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