How to Manage Post-Vacation Syndrome
Summer vacations are the perfect time to disconnect, reconnect with oneself, get out of every day’s routine, and share moments with our families and friends. This year, especially with the pandemic situation, many of us decided to take a different vacation, but a vacation after all.
However, with or without travel involved, some people experience a state of discomfort when their vacation ends. This is Post-Vacation Syndrome.
The psychological benefits of vacations
Holidays play a fundamental role in mental disconnects from our day to day, reduce stress, rest from routines, and enjoy the things we like in our free time.
Precisely during the year, we complain that this free time does not exist and that we do not have time for anything. Therefore, it is important to take advantage of this time for ourselves and to be able to share it with others, do what we like. We never have time, or we always make excuses, so this is the time to practice what we would like to do.
Other basic functions of the holidays consist of renewing energy for the remainder of the year, making an evaluation of ourselves, reconnect with our inner world, and enjoying the moments of everyday life that cost us so much during the year.
In these routine changes, we eat differently, we have different schedules, and all of that makes us relax and make it more difficult for us to return to our old life. On the first days of vacation, we are still connected to our daily habits, but in a couple of days we start to get in tune with our vacation way of life.
Signs of Post-Vacation Syndrome
Going back to the routine again sometimes generates what we call Post-Vacation Syndrome; we disconnect so much that it is difficult for us to face the obligations of daily life again.
This syndrome has manifestations in both physical and mental symptoms. In this phenomenon, the main symptom is lack of energy, which is reflected in tiredness, sleep disturbance, apathy, lack of concentration, irritation are signs of the post-holiday syndrome.
A qualified leader will identify employees who returned to work at cruising speed and those who struggle internally to get back to work. Look out for the following signs:
- Lack of enthusiasm and pessimism: Does the employee fulfill the tasks almost mechanically, without enthusiasm and creative inputs to the company’s strategy? On the other hand, were you a positive member of the team, and now you always are having a pessimistic view of the company’s challenges? This is an important warning sign of post-holiday syndrome;
- Little concentration: Be aware of how the employee performs daily tasks. If it takes longer than usual or if, despite the same time, the work is done with less quality, you may be facing a worker who has not yet managed to adapt to the routine;
- Irritation: In these cases, employees maintain the usual work and productivity threshold but reflect social stress. Look for signs of lack of patience and irritation in dealing with other teammates and even with superiors, nervousness, etc. This leads us to face our routine in an unbalanced way.
8 Tips for managing this experience
We provide you with some keys to overcome this syndrome and avoid this lack of energy that it sometimes generates.
1. It would help if you had time to reconnect with the routine
Sometimes, it costs us so much to get out of the routine that it costs us much more to return to it when we do it. Therefore, if possible, it is important to be able to return from vacation a few days earlier and make contact with the environment and slow down little by little to be able to adapt to our home and our obligations.
2. Adapt your schedule
It is important that a few days before you start to resume the rhythm of the schedules so that the first day back to our jobs, university, or school, is not the first early morning after the holidays, since this hurts ourselves and we will not start the week the same way.
3. Make the return gradual
This adaptation process to our life must be gradual so that we do not generate a lack of energy, apathy, and anxiety. That is why we insist on, if possible, return a few days earlier better
4. Keep going
During the holidays, you can maintain a good degree of activity, and if, for example, you are a person who does sport, to be able to continue doing it so as not to disconnect completely with our daily routines, since after the holidays, they will help us to return to the “default” way of life.
5. Get used to observing what you feel
We must be attentive to the emotions and feelings generated by the return from vacation.
6. Plan in your head what your next vacation will be
This will also give you something else to motivate you. It does not matter if you do not carry out that destination you planned afterward, the important thing is that it can be in your mind and think about disconnecting again.
7. Be patient
In a few days, the symptoms should disappear, and there is less left for your next disconnection.
8. Remember the images that the holidays have left
These memories of experiences full of good times and anecdotes to remember can continue to provide you with good moments after the holidays.
5 management strategies to fight post-vacation syndrome
1. Book the post-vacation return with a conversation
Whether it is an informal conversation or a formal meeting, be sure to communicate with the employee on returning from summer vacation. Do not ignore the absence, leaving immediately for work matters. On the contrary, ask him for details about the vacation he took. Also, remember to show that the absence was felt during the company’s activity, valuing the employee’s work. Briefly summarize what has happened in the meantime and point out pending tasks that need further attention.
2. Organize the first day
To avoid a sudden shock between vacation days and the intensity of routine work, organizing a progressive return to work may be the best option. If you coordinate the work team, structure your employee’s first day in well-defined tasks and with longer deadlines than usual in the pre-vacation period. Start the day with the current status of the team’s tasks and goals, but encourage the employee to spend the first hours of work responding to emails and making pending calls. These are tasks that require less concentration and, in general, a lower level of anxiety. After this ‘warm-up’, refer him to the essential tasks that need to be worked on. By progressively organizing the day and identified priorities – you avoid overloading your work on your return to work.
3. Set goals
One of the most common problems associated with post-holiday stress is a lack of concentration. To overcome this situation, set concrete work goals for your team in the rentrée. In this way, there will always be a goal to achieve related to each task. Dividing big goals into smaller steps is also a good incentive for concentration and motivation – after all, crossing out goals on the to-do list is a source of personal and professional satisfaction.
4. Propose after-work activities
In the first week of work, encourage your employees with something they can look forward to. Organize a team outing for dinner on Friday night or a day when they can leave work early – if it fits the company’s requirements. That way, the first week will not seem so monotonous and overloaded.
Also, recreational activities during after-hours allow reinforcing the bonds of friendship between employees. Do not forget that the human side is fundamental to retain talent in your company.
5. Give new life to new skills
The rentrée is the ideal opportunity to promote training and gain new skills for your team members. Thus, instead of returning to the same routine, employees returning from vacation face a new challenge and, consequently, with increased motivation. You can choose to take advantage of internal skills to exchange knowledge between members of the same team or project. It will also ensure that several employees have the necessary knowledge to perform the same task – reducing the dependence on a single employee.
Post-Vacation Syndrome should not last more than 15 days, and in this period, we should gradually face this emotional pressure on the first days. For this reason, it is very important to plan your return and be organized. You also have to avoid negative thoughts that get you nowhere and get into a loop. Try to do activities outside of your work hours that you like and reconnect with yourself.