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The post vacation syndrome

September has begun, and so has the summer holiday come to an end. Some of us are back to work for quite a while. For others, it will be their first week back. Most employees struggle with getting back into the swing of things after a period of relaxing. They are out of the routine, getting overwhelmed by a full mailbox and busy schedule. Are you one of these people? Don’t worry, because it is a common phenomenon, called the post vacation syndrome (PVS). 

What is PVS?

Post vacation blues, also called the holiday blues or post-travel depression is a low mood that people returning to work after a long trip or holiday may experience. More than 85 percent of knowledge workers admit that they dread certain things about getting back to work after vacation. This may include things such as getting back into a routine, catching up on administrative work, feeling unproductive while they catch up on missed work, a busy environment…

When you suffer from PVS, main symptoms are insomnia, short temper, lack of concentration or low energy. Not the best things to cope with when there is work to be done.

Fortunately, these post-vacation blues can be prevented. Read following tips, and implement them in your routine, so you can ensure a smooth transition back to work.

How to cope with PVS?

The first thing you should do to prevent from falling into the blues, is to identify the triggers that bring on these blues. After that, you can start to implement one or more of the following tips.

Spread your vacation days

The longer your vacation, the harder it might be to return to work. That’s why it could be better to spread your free days over more small vacations.

Avoid frustrations about technology and comfort

After a period of vacation, you’re fully destressed and at ease (hopefully :-)). You better avoid getting frustrated the first day back at work. Therefore, it’s a good idea to provide the right ergonomic office tools, like a comfortable seat, an appropriate desk, or a laptop stand. That way, you avoid developing physical complaints or stiffness. Also think of great technological equipment, like a good-working headset, a high-quality webcam, as well at home as in the office. The better your equipment, the more relaxed you are on your first day back.

Do not return to work right away

Returning into the daily routine after getting back from a holiday trip is never a good idea. Allow yourself a couple of days to prepare yourself. Returning to the routine too quickly mostly does more harm than good.

Do not plan meetings on your first day back

Make sure you have a whole day for yourself, to analyze what has been going on during your absence, to go through your mailbox and to prioritize tasks.

Clean up your mailbox

When you open your mailbox on the first day of work, you might be drowning in the number of emails. Luckily, chances are that a part of it is already solved by one of your colleagues, and another part is ads or spam. To decrease the number of unread emails, go through your emails diagonally, and delete everything that is not relevant. That way, you create more peace in your mailbox and in your mind.

Keep the good attitude

A key factor for a good start, is your optimism. Focus on the positive aspects of your work and the work-life balance, like getting back in touch with your favorite co-workers.

These tips might be very helpful to get back to work in ease. But always remember: you’re human, not a robot. One important tip we can give you (not only after a holiday but during the whole year) is: take care of yourself, because self care is one of the most important things. Don’t overdo things, take your rest when you need it. Go for a walk, take yourself a good cup of coffee, get enough sleep… and everything will be fine. 

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