If being on vacation feels like a languid, delicious, evening floating in a hot air balloon, and coming back home feels like being booted out of an airplane, complete with a hard, bumpy parachute landing, you are not alone.
I love the simplicity of vacations. Waking up when the morning light fills the tent with a warm glow. Going to bed when the only light is the orange-red of the fire, and darkness has descended, all velvety, with its stars spilled and scattered like jewels across the sky. I love it when the biggest decisions of the day are which route to take for the day’s hike and how many sandwiches to pack for lunch.
Even with Saturday and Sunday as buffer days to do laundry and restock the fridge, I wasn’t looking forward to Monday morning. No, in fact, I buried my head into my pillow and begged for an extra half hour of sleep and still got up feeing mighty CRABBY.
Embrace Routine. As confining as routines sometimes feel, they are also a GIFT. This morning’s weightlifting, run, and yoga sequence helped recalibrate me. And trust me, I didn’t WANT to do any of these things, and yet, encouraging myself to do even the smallest amount – 40 minutes total – helped me start to feel more like myself.
Fully Savor. Instead of compartmentalizing the fun you’ve had and relegating it a shelf in your mind, take time to savor the highlights. I gave myself PERMISSION to spend a few minutes writing down some of my fondest moments and placed them in my Happiness Jar. There was something COMFORTING in writing about these special memories, knowing they wouldn’t be lost in the abyss of busyness.
Activate Gratitude. The quickest way to recalibrate is to ACTIVATE your sense of GRATITUDE. Even if going back to work doesn’t thrill you, what about your job can you be grateful for? Perhaps it is the steady paycheck and your ability to put money into your 401k? Perhaps it is where you feel stretched and challenged – and this is a good thing. This morning, I spent a few minutes focusing on what is good and right in my daily life and reconnected to my sense of purpose.
Notice Emotions. Sometimes the rebel child inside of us simply needs to throw an “I don’t wanna” tantrum. Are you willing to simply notice what you are feeling without judgement? Are you willing to talk kindly to yourself and admit how you feel? I spent time on my run this morning acknowledging my anxiety and resistance to getting back into the swing of things.
Notice Perspective. Noticing our emotions can help us be aware of what perspective we are holding. What attitudes, beliefs, thoughts, feelings, decisions and choices are influencing how we approach going back to work? Does life feel HARD? Do you speak of your routine as a DAILY GRIND? I certainly noticed those words coming out of my mouth this morning as I checked in with a friend.
It is our resistance which makes the transition back to work so hard to navigate.
So, instead of steeling yourself for the head-swirling mass of emails, what if you embraced them as welcome-back love-notes?
Give yourself permission to spend a few minutes recalling the details of a favorite vacation moment with a friend and colleague at work as a way to fully savor it and link it to the present.
Bring a vacation perspective to work. For example, a perspective I will be playing with over the next few days is to ask myself, “If this X task were a hike along Paintbrush Canyon, how would I feel? What would I do?”
A gentle landing is possible. Welcome back.