Time to hang up the flip flops and get back to work after that well earned and much longed for break. How are you feeling? Energised and raring to go or desperate to rush back to your lounger? If its the latter then you have a case of the summertime blues but don’t worry, you’re not alone and I have a couple of cures for you.
1. Bring the holiday vibe to the office
When we go away for a couple of weeks it is amazing how quickly we develop little routines. We cycle into the village for bread and milk, we have morning coffee on the hotel balcony, and take long, lazy strolls along the beach after dinner etc. Time seems to slow down.
Okay so alfresco breakfasts are becoming less attractive, and darker, by the day but you could set the alarm a bit earlier and make a point of starting your day with your holiday breakfast and conversation rather than racing out of the door, toast in hand, muttering something about dry cleaning. Be radical and go into work later instead. Quality time in the morning could do wonders for your mood, your connection with others and give you time to plan the day ahead. Importantly, it will also help you feel in control of the day, just like you were on your hols. This is important as you may be fearing that once you go back, you will be straight back onto the hamster wheel from which there is no escape until Christmas. Set a new intention of how things will be and be clear to differentiate between what you are being asked to do and the amount of say you have over when and how. Often, the job itself is fine, we’d just rather have more say over how we go about it. Knowing the difference can curb the urge to quit and create scope for an informed conversation with your manager and team. If you are going to be blue, be blue for the right reason and then you can do something about it!
“My normal life is like being on holiday” – Valentino Rossi
Evening strolls along the beach after dinner are less attractive when a) you live nowhere near a beach and/or b) it is tipping it down with rain, but you could make time in the evening to relax and talk. How about no TV, just a glass of your holiday tipple and a sound track of the ocean/jungle/favourite holiday tunes. A great way to get over the frustrations of the working day and reconnect with each other and perpetuate that holiday vibe. You know, I can’t hear The Lotus Eaters with “The first picture of you” (remember it) without being transported to a holiday in the Isle of Wight over 35 years ago! Happy days! Which holiday tunes should be on your playlist?
If you are a holiday reader then hold onto your new reading habit. If you are distracted by chores and other people at home then take yourself away for a few hours; to a hotel lobby or coffee shop, the library even! Schedule in some reading time to relax or learn. No time? Really? How about you reinstate your lunch break (shock! horror!). You stopped for a lunch break when on your hols so why not now?
Make a list right now of all the things you did on holiday that you really enjoyed (yes, all of them!) and note what it was that you most enjoyed about them (if appropriate). Then fit these, or similar activities which will give you the same buzz, into your weekly routine. Keep the holiday vibe alive until your next break. I walk along the seafront in Bournemouth every day and often see large family groups having chaotic games of rounders and catch on the beach late into the evening. I wonder if when the holiday is over the games and the family fun get packed away until the next year. That would be sad.
2. Make work more fun
“Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from.” – Seth Godin
If you are lacking motivation, I suggest you have a good look at how you spend your holiday time. What did you do on your holiday. How did you organise yourself? Did you thrive without a routine? Did your sense of adventure lead you to paddle boarding or whizzing down a zip wire? Perhaps you tapped into your creativity to build awesome sandcastles, learn to paint watercolours or cook with new flavours. Work can seem very familiar and humdrum after your holiday adventures so perhaps it’s time to get out of your comfort zone – loosen up your schedule or take on new work challenges to keep the blues at bay.
For example, could you find at least one new thing to do at work which would use your holiday skills? Use your adventure planning skills to run a project or design the next team build, your creativity to be the office PowerPoint guru or blogger, your rediscovered love of reading to set up a book club?
“If ants are such busy workers, how come they find time to go to all the picnics?” – Marie Dressler
If you are too busy to take on more activities, then perhaps you have lost touch with your main objectives for work and life. Are you filling your to do list with other people’s priorities? It is easy to become overwhelmed and disheartened and those feelings are only exacerbated after a great holiday. Take a look at how you spend your working hours and make sure you are clear on what you are there to achieve and how best to meet your goals.
“I find it fascinating that most people plan their vacation with better care than they do their lives. Perhaps that is because escape is easier than change” – Jim Rohn
I am being light hearted here but if your holiday has given you time to reflect and you do feel that it’s time to move on, then I could help you to plan your next move and explore how you can create a working life that brings out the best in you. Who knows? You may never suffer summertime blues again!