Vacation as a Stress Factor
by Magdalena Fladl, 28.07.2017
Vacation is not only associated with relaxation and leisure. In everyday working life, the time before and after the vacation can sometimes be associated with stress. We have compiled tips and tricks on how you can counteract vacation stress.
Vacation Planning and Time Management
Have you ever been so stressed before your vacation because a hundred things still need to be done before you can leave? At the same time, the stress after the vacation is just as great: the mailbox is overflowing, projects are on hold and seven people are waiting for you to call them back. With our tips, stress management before and after vacation is guaranteed to succeed.
What You Should Consider Before the Vacation
If you start work well-prepared a week before the vacation season begins, you can start your well-earned time off relaxed. The following tips ensure efficient work organization and stress management before the vacation starts.
Start early and set priorities: The vacation time is usually fixed at the beginning of the year. This makes it all the more successful to prepare for the last days of work in the long term. Keep one to two weeks off before you go on vacation, so you can finish projects and make preparations for your absence during that time. Inform colleagues and important customers about your vacation well in advance and set dates for handover meetings in good time. This way, your environment can also adjust to your vacation.
Delegate tasks: Tasks that cannot be completed before the start of the vacation period should be handed over to colleagues. In addition to a detailed discussion, it is advisable to draw up a handover protocol. This sets out deadlines and dates, priorities, procedures, and other information about ongoing projects. Don’t be afraid to hand over responsibility! Otherwise, you will mentally take your work with you on vacation and hardly be able to switch off.
Create meaningful order through filing systems: “Tidiness is half the battle!” – What our mom used to say is also true in the working world. Colleagues will thank you if you leave the workplace tidy. Always sort folders and other relevant documents alphabetically, chronologically, or by project, creating a manageable filing system. Adhere to your system consistently. Efficient work organization saves a lot of time and helps manage stress – for your colleagues, too! – Enjoy the vacation season, they too will find everything they need to complete the tasks you have taken on.
What Is Important after the Vacation
Every beginning has an end. This is also true for the vacation season. Relaxing days are behind us: the vacation planning was worth it! We still seem to be floating in the throes of vacation feelings. But when you think about returning to work, the vacation mood evaporates in an instant. Work left undone, stacks of new to-dos and an overflowing email inbox. That screams of a lot of work and stress!
Staying ahead of the curve: Stress management after the end of the vacation starts right in the morning: It is helpful to be in the office earlier than everyone else on the first day of work. The time gained helps to “arrive” in peace. In order to boost motivation after the end of the vacation, it is advisable to schedule the first workday for the middle of the week. That way, the first goal is already within reach: Weekend! This makes it easier to bridge the gap between vacation and everyday work.
Organize email properly: Good self-management requires being up to date. That’s why e-mails that have piled up during the absence are dealt with first. Wildly answering all messages quickly degenerates into stress. Set priorities to manage stress! Irrelevant e-mails belong in the trash. Many concerns can be dealt with later. These should be marked and filed sensibly so that they can be accessed quickly later. The number of relevant e-mails should then be clear enough to process. Work through e-mails in a structured manner and benefit from e-mail management: Anyone who masters this will be less stressed and almost back to the daily work routine.
To-do lists: Self-management to cope with stress requires a structured and prioritized approach. Best tool: to-do lists! Take 10 minutes to record tasks and sort them by importance. This invested time will save you from being overwhelmed. To-do lists allow you to proceed step by step without forgetting important tasks. The to-dos should be formulated as concretely and as actively as possible. For example, the to-do “Inquiry company Meyer” is not very effective. Many, but tangible tasks such as “Create offer company Meyer by 15.8.” are completed more quickly. In the long run, this leads to a more productive way of working.
Stress management through communication: Exchanging ideas with colleagues is not only important after the end of vacation. This ensures transparency in the company. Specifically, after the end of vacation, it is important to ask about the new development status of the projects. During your absence, a lot has certainly been done. Clarify exactly what has already been done and what still needs to be done, who needs a response, and what has priority. Also, don’t miss the opportunity to talk informally about private matters. A chat about what you experienced on vacation lightens the mood. And positive thoughts boost motivation for upcoming tasks!
End of vacation – positive mood is required: Decisive for the return after the end of vacation are your thoughts. They activate moods in the body and influence motivation. Avoid thoughts like, “Now I have to be back here.” Think positively, “What great things I experienced!” Bring the vacation mood into everyday life, for example, by taking vacation photos at work or taking a lunch break in the sun. Motivation also increases when we have goals in mind. After the vacation is before the vacation! Plan your next time out now. After all, that’s when the anticipation begins, which will inspire you at work.