Returning to Work Post-Holiday
(…without having a breakdown)
Earlier this week I crash-landed back in New Zealand after a five-week, dream-come-true European Extravaganza that I have been envisioning since pre-teen Alex watched Lizzie McGuire take on Rome. Happy-go-lucky me also thought that I could return back to work the following day, after having been in transit for 37 hours. *Cue laughter*. Needless to say, my manager received a “please don’t hate me” text message on the morning of my intended arrival back at work, and I vowed to never underestimate the power of jetlag, as long as I shall live.
The days that followed have not been pretty, to say the least. The 5:00PM bedtimes and 3:00AM wake-ups have seen me strategically avoid eye contact, merely nod in professional settings, and consume enough caffeine to pay our local coffee shop’s rent for the following month. This is not to mention the all-crippling, post-travel blues that have had me scrolling through my camera roll, and perusing Flight Centre’s latest deals during my lunch breaks. Amidst all of this I got to thinking; how on earth does one (successfully) return to work after a (mind-blowing) holiday (without curling up in the foetal position under their desk)? Well, friends and loved ones, look no further; I have paired up with my recent google browser history to bring you a three step ‘how-to’ guide to returning to work post-vacation, guinea-pigged by yours truly.
1. Be Realistic
Let’s be honest, we all take our jobs very seriously (yes, CEO, I am due for a promotion), but planning to be at work the day after 30-odd hours spent in and out of pressurised cabins will not benefit anyone, nor come true. Be realistic. Could you stay awake long enough to put together a presentation for next week’s meeting? Probably not. Could you even hold a five minute conversation with your colleagues without figuring out a way to mention that you were sunbathing in Capri this time last week? I can confirm with confidence, not a chance.
Set yourself realistic expectations. If you won’t be able to give your looming responsibilities 100%, or gain a favourable outcome due to your current state, put it in the calendar for next week – or bribe your favourite colleague to do it on your behalf. Either way, be honest with yourself. You are not superhuman and the first few days adjusting to routine and running on no sleep will be tough.
2. Set Goals
I arrived back in New Zealand a connoisseur of Italian pasta. I am not joking; apparently my ‘gluten-free-I-don’t-touch-sugar’ lifestyle is confined only to the Southern Hemisphere. Although I am happy to say I have tasted most gelato flavours known to man, I have at the same time learnt that I do not have the metabolism of a Victoria’s Secret model. My BFF Google told me that one of best ways of ensuring a smooth return to routine post-holiday is by setting goals. Naturally, my now ill-fitting jeans and I put together a very vigorous “make-Alex-great-again” plan. Three days in and I can confirm, HIIT training is a b***h.
That being said, the goal of once again being recognisable to my friends and family, has taken some focus away from the fact that I am no longer drinking beer by the litre in Germany. Set some goals as soon as you can. Guilty of swiping your credit card one too many times in Switzerland? Put a timeframe and budget in place to clear it. The décor of your living room not quite as swanky as your Parisian hotel room? Let that inner interior designer loose. Or if you are battling those pesky extra pounds like me, I’ll see you at Les Mills at 6:00PM.
3. Plan Your Next Adventure
There is nothing worse than that feeling when your holiday of a lifetime has come to an end. I genuinely shed a tear or two stepping foot into my office building earlier this week. But alas, do not fear; the only thing standing between you and walking the same streets as Julius Caesar once again is you, and only you.
Leading on from my earlier point of setting goals; plan your next adventure. Me? My bank statements and I have an agreement that I will wait a wee while prior to booking any flights. But hey, a girl can dream right? And dream away, I say. This world is huge and if you are anything like me and my wanderlust, this is only a notch on your travel belt. The adventure does not have to end here. Pick a place, a realistic timeframe, and set that goal – see what I did there?
And if your waning annual leave is making you wait a hot minute before you can throw another euro in the Trevi Fountain, be a tourist in your own town. Pop in to that little café on the corner that you’ve wanted to try. Wake up early on your next available Sunday and say “oui-oui” to the French-inspired market you’ve been eyeing. And if you are in New Zealand, and I mean anywhere in New Zealand, jump in your car and drive 45 minutes in any goddamn direction; I promise you that you will find a hill, lake or 90 mile beach that some can only dream of seeing.
Happy adjusting, friends!