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How to avoid after-holiday blues

Performance & Productivity


September 2, 2019

August 26, 2020

Last week, we wrote a blog with useful tips on how to take long holidays without your company collapsing. It’s all in the preparation. A relaxing holiday starts with tying up loose ends at work, packing your suitcase and listing priorities for when you return. Sadly, summer is coming to an end, so this week we’re focusing on after-holiday blues and how to avoid it.

Have you ever felt overwhelmed when returning to work after a holiday? Join the club. As the French say: partir c’est mourir un peu – to leave, is to die a little. Swapping your palm tree view for a glum city skyline can weigh you down. Many feel a bit shell-shocked when getting back to work after a long break. These tips from our very own Head of VIE People Amsterdam Mechteld Daniels and HR-consultant Babet Becker will soften your landing.

Plan a passion project for when you return

Babet: “Scheduling time for a work-related project that truly enthuses you is like giving your future self a present.” Do it before you go on holiday so you have something to look forward to when you get back.

Return a few days before coming back to work

As tempting as it is to stay at your holiday destination for as long as you can, “it is worth your while coming home a little earlier”, says Mechteld. Allowing yourself the time to land softly, sleep off your jetlag and unpack will have you come back to the office rested and prepared.

Keep exploring in your home country

One of the things that makes traveling special is the openness you experience – the fuck-it mentality. All of a sudden you turn into a yes-man. But there’s no need to cross the border to chase the thrill you get from exploring. Babet’s suggestion: “Plan regular, out-of-the-ordinary trips or excursions in your own country or even neighborhood.” Go to a province you have never been to, book a surf lesson, plot your own biking tour through the neighborhood and make a pitstop for a prosecco breakfast on the way.

Spend your free time in nature, not on Netflix

“I felt truly calm after a week of sailing in the US with my husband and two kids. Being outside and on the water always has a soothing effect on me”, says Mechteld while flicking through her holiday pics. Simulate that holiday bliss by going on evening walks in the park after work, instead of vegging out on the couch.

Schedule quality time with family and friends

All of a sudden you find yourself having real talks by the poolside – the type of conversations that go beyond the day-to-day recount of events. You have infinite time to reflect and to connect with family and friends while on holiday. Mechteld: “I play much more games with the kids when holidaying, but as soon as we get back home everyone goes back to watching series and doing their own thing.” So free your schedule for quality time with them when you get back too. “I make sure I have most meals with my kids and husband during the week, so we can share that moment.” And why not plan regular play-dates?

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