A sunny vacation is known to be the ultimate cure for stress relief; we are able to relax and enjoy the sun while embracing a new culture. It is only on returning home that we become overwhelmed with thoughts about how much paperwork and catching up awaits us once we return to our desk. We may suddenly feel as if we have landed not only physically, but also mentally, back onto reality and so begin to prepare ourselves for a heap of work and stress…

Well not always! By following the tips highlighted below, we will show how you can reduce stress through self-management after a vacation to help you feel more positive about returning to work.

Leave Planning and Time Management

Reducing stress levels and to-dos after your vacation must be taken into consideration right from when you start planning your vacation. For example, if you struggle to moitvate yourself, you should think about planning your vacation so that you return to the office during the middle of the week. This way you will not have to wait very long before it is the weekend. You may also find it helpful to arrive at the office earlier than everyone else on your first day back, so you have time to “familiarise” yourself with your work surroundings.

E-Mail Organisation

One of the first things we may find ourselves doing once back at our desk is checking the dreaded e-mail account. The amount of e-mails that may have accumulated over this time is most likely to be in double figures, so replying to them all in one go will just amount in stress. However, by setting priorities, you can keep yourself organised and focused which will ultimately help in reducing stress!

Remember: irrelevant e-mails belong in the trash or spam folder and not so urgent but important e-mails should be marked accordingly, so you can reply to these at a later date. This strategy should help you to breakdown the number of e-mails you must reply to straight-away. Note: experience has shown that a well structured and organised e-mail account is one the best ways to reduce stress.

To-Do Lists

Being able to reduce stress levels through self-management requires structure and prioritisation in everyday life. One of the best tools for this: to-do-lists! Give yourself 10 minutes to write down all your to-dos, making sure you sort them by order of importance. This strategy enables you to go step-by-step with your daily workload, so that you don’t miss out any important tasks. Note that your to-do list should be formulated as concretely and actively as possible, which will help you to finish tasks more efficiently. For example, instead of just writing “company Meyer quotation,“ a much clearer note would be “Make out company Meyer quotation Until 15.8” – in the long-term, you will gain a more productive method of working.

Reducing Stress through Communication

Knowing what new developments and projects have begun in your absence is essential for transparency in the company, so it is essential not to put off contacting colleagues after a long vacation. When in the office, do not shy away from striking up a conversation with a colleague, as an informal chat will lighten up the mood and encourage positive thoughts towards work.

Self-Management and Work Organisation

Less is more! Try and split your tasks up into little “bite-sized“ chunks. This will help ease the step back into your everyday working life. What you finish should be rewarded with a tick on your to-do list, as the process of ticking off tasks has been known to promote happy and feel-good feelings. Do not give yourself too much to do during the first few days back at the office and perhaps think about planning an earlier finishing time, as this will help put your motivation in the right swing.

Positive Atmosphere

Personal thoughts and approaches are what ultimately influence our level of motivation. Therefore, it is important to avoid negative thoughts that will put you off the idea of work. Think positively! In order to lighten up the mood in the office, you could put photographs from your vacation at your desk as little reminder of what a great time you had. Remember: after one vacation is before another vacation! Hence you could even start planning your next vacation to keep yourself focused and positive about what is still to come.

Do you have other tips and tricks that you would like to share regarding stress reduction after vacation? How do you manage to get yourself back in the swing of things after a long and relaxing vacation?