Post-Vacation Blues: Ease your way back to work

While we were trying to catch the last holiday opportunities in the late summer, we realized the sadness caused by returning from vacation and how it’s negatively reflected on our business performance. It’s not easy to get out of work mode and then come back from the vacation that we took to relax just a little bit. Moreover, most of us expect to come back from vacation well-rested and that it will have a positive impact on our performance immediately. However, this is not the case, and we naturally have difficulties in focusing and adapting. Our body and mind are not machines so that they start working with high performance immediately after being charged. In order to switch the gear, it is necessary to re-accustom our body to its old tempo and regain motivation. In this article, we discussed the question of how we can make it easier to return to work despite the sadness of returning from vacation, within the framework of “mindful life”. 

How Ready Are You to Go Back to Work After Vacation?

Let’s think about how we can be motivated to truly honor the vacation and get back to work quickly. After all, rest is a very important requirement to increase productivity, motivation and focus. But we ensure that it has a positive impact on the work only when we return consciously and with awareness. If we act hastily, we may face a burn-out again and need a vacation again. Did you know that most employees are considering resigning after their vacations?

Therefore, it is very important to understand how ready you are to return to work, and how the state of your body and mind is. Especially if you have experienced the anxiety and the fear of going back to work even during your vacation… You are never alone in these worries, most people get stressed by thinking about the return at the beginning of vacation. The vacation period is also a useful time to research, understand and resolve the causes of this stress. 

You may even be experiencing Post-Vacation Syndrome. This is a very serious process for those who do not like their job and do not like their work environment: from headache to stress-effective digestive system problems and feelings of anger or intolerance can be observed.

Apart from this, the factor that makes adaptation the most difficult is sleep. According to research, it takes at least 3 days to get used to routine work after a week’s vacation, and at least two nights to return to normal sleep. 6 out of 10 people can’t get up early on the first morning back to work.

Research shows that when people go back to work and find a pile of work waiting for them, their vacation gains quickly disappear… The worry and stress that begins as your vacation comes to an end consume the expected recovery experience from the vacation, and you're actually back at work when you should have continued to de-stress and recover.

To get rid of this cycle, we have listed ways to be motivated at work on your first day and turn the day into a productive, joyful and creative day.

How to Gain Back Motivation

1. Maintain Your Sleep Routine

Let’s get rid of the sleep problem first. Sleep routine is the first to get disrupted on vacation. Although it is not very realistic, if you have a sleep routine, we recommend that you keep it on vacation and travels. Forming and maintaining a sleep routine is very important in daily life with its positive effect on health and mood. But it is not so easy to maintain on vacation, we realize.

If you’ve left your sleep routine, you can start returning to it slowly. To make it happen, it would be useful to return from vacation a day or two before the first working day. The need for sleep varies from person to person, but it is very important to get a healthy and adequate sleep before the first day of work. For healthy sleep;

  • Do not eat a few hours before going to sleep,
  • In order to minimize the effect of the blue light of the screens, one should stay away from television, computer and phone screens as much as possible until 1 hour before going to sleep,
  • Complete the night away from screens, with calmer activities that will tire the brain less (for example, reading a book),
  • You should make pre-sleep preparations a routine and fully prepare the mind for sleep.


Along with these, drinking calming and healthy green teas and adding meditation to the pre-sleep routine will increase the quality of your sleep and ensure that you meet with sleep for sure.

2. Make a good planning where you set priorities

You need a two-stage planning to eliminate the guilt and stress you feel while going on vacation and to speed up your adaptation on your return. Before the vacation, you need to be in peace with the way things work in your absence. You can also include household chores in this planning. In order to make it easier for you when you return from your vacation, what you can do is to determine your priorities.

The second stage is about planning what you can do first and foremost to ease the return to work. As soon as you return, you should not try to do housework, plan the week, make up for all the time you lost on the first day of work, you should give yourself time. Make your planning as detailed as possible and how you feel the most comfortable. If necessary, and if possible, set aside the first hour of the workday, or even most of the first day, for planning, that is, for yourself. 

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  • Instead of jumping into work instantly, you can start your day by arranging your desk. If it is tidy, changing the layout a little and placing items that will remind you of the good times you spent on vacation will provide a positive energy. In the same way, you can continue by organizing your computer, folders and e-mails.
  • Start organizing your tasks when looking at your mail, prioritizing the most recent. In this way, you will share the current atmosphere at your work-place and manage your time correctly.
  • Get rid of distractions while planning. By not delaying the planning, you will get the feeling of starting the day right and on track.
  • The best way to start is to identify small main tasks in your planning and start with them to get a quick win. This feeling of victory is referred to as the “propensity to finish” in psychology and is caused by the brain’s release of dopamine when we finish a task.


It is important to return to your priorities and use the comfort of planning whenever you think about the things you need to catch up with.

3. Seize the Moment.

We know, vacation was very nice and you are not ready to return at all… This is very normal, but the longer your mind is on vacation, the further away you are from this moment. This is the main reason for your stress and depression: not being able to return to this moment and live this moment. Make sure you go through these phases in your mind:

  • Accepting the end of the vacation,
  • Trying to enjoy the way back,
  • Reminding yourself how rested, refreshed and ready you are to get back to work.
  • Allowing yourself to experience the comfort of being at home, the longing you felt when you were away from your home and the feeling of reunion when you come back.


Well, that’s it! When you approach this whole process of returning mindfully, when you get back to work you will now be in this moment and have the beginner’s mind. When you look at your old routine, your desk, everything and everyone with a beginner’s mind, they will seem new and fresh, and the excitement of embarking on a new adventure will return to you as motivation.

4. Take advantage of the opportunity to re-evaluate your work habits.

Besides resting, vacation also gives us an opportunity to review our work habits. Why are you so wrapped up in vacation? What makes you so stressed about going back to work? Are you experiencing the sadness of returning from vacation so intensely that it turns into depression?

If you encounter these questions and resistance while making your planning, it means you had a good holiday. Because a good vacation gives us the opportunity to look at our work routine with fresh eyes, with a beginner’s mind. For this reason, before jumping into the same cycle, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I love my job?
  • How stressed or satisfied does my work environment make me?
  • Do I have an effective routine to reach my goals?
  • Am I getting enough sleep?
  • Do I take enough breaks and rest?
  • What are the factors that prevent me from focusing, motivating and realizing my potential?
  • Am I able to balance my work with my social life and personal needs?

It takes courage to ask these questions. However, take a look at your old routine with this awareness, you will find many solutions in yourself and your return from vacation will not look so bad.

While accepting that a brisk working period has come with the end of summer, approaching vacation and work habits with this awareness will make it much easier to return to work. With these 4 mindful steps, you will be able to turn the energy you gain from your vacation into productivity.

 You can download InnerJoy, your meditation coach to bring mindfulness practice into your life, now for free.

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