After the Holidays

Winter vacation time can be so relaxing, at times, maybe even lazy - sleeping in, spending time with the family and eating way too much. But now that the holidays are over and the kids are getting back to school, it’s time to rev up your work zone before the spring.

So, how can you transition back to work, no matter the time of year, after you’ve been off and enjoying the freedom of no schedule?

Set the Stage

* On your way back home, while your mind is still relaxed, think about your job and what you’d like most to accomplish when you return. Go over anything that was outstanding when you left, or loose ends that still need to be tied up. Then grab a pen and paper and make a short goals list, in order of priority, to help guide you when you return.

Though this tip seems simple, it really prepares the mind and sets the stage to help you transition into your work zone. The list acts a reminder of the work atmosphere, reengaging you in the projects, personalities and goals of the workplace and keeping you from being shocked back to reality, by your arrival at work.

Hang onto that Relaxed State

* Many of us tend to run a marathon right before vacation, rushing to finish projects and leave instructions and back-up plans for your absence, which really ends up burning us out before time off. Remembering the week you had, right before you left, can make going back seem even harder to face. Next vacation try to start planning at least two weeks to a month in advance, so that you have plenty of time to finish projects and find someone to cover for you while you’re gone. Making the transition out of the office more low key will make coming back, that much easier.

* It’s obvious that work by its very nature, is different than play but that doesn’t mean it can’t be just as engaging and stimulating. One of the best ways to keep work fresh and your mind and body working at optimum, is to keep stress at bay. But some days, with deadlines, work pile-ups and office politics it can all be too much. This is the perfect time to work-out. Though vacation time is filled with plenty of relaxation, it’s often also full of outdoor physical activities (even mild ones) that release endorphins and get rid of nervous energy.

Since stress is part of the fight or flight dynamic in the body, it’s best to work out some of these bio-chemical reactions by taking a walk, hitting the stair master or pumping some iron. Before you head back to work, start a new routine and maintain it, either before or after work. Even stopping down on your break for a quick brisk walk around the block can do wonders to revive the mind and let those feelings of tension leave your body.

Bring a Little Vacation with You

* While you’re away think about bringing back a little something from your vacation to brighten the lives of those who were left behind. Macadamia nuts from Hawaii, salt water taffy from the coast, beads from New Orleans or some other small gift to be shared by coworkers, will not only have people welcoming you back in the warmest of ways (and maybe not piling the work on you for a day or two) it will also give you a little smile as you recall the fun you had on your time off.

* Bring in some fresh pictures of your time away when you get back to work, to remind you what you’re working for and to give you a little mental refresh throughout the day.

* Wear comfortable shoes and professional but comfortable clothes, as you transition back, feeling too bound up can be a shock to the system to after spending long days in casual attire and sandals or bare feet.

* Breathe deep before starting in on the next project and try to picture some of the best moments of your time off as little mini-mental breaks when you need them. You won’t believe how, taking just a few moments to recalibrate your mental state, can fuel your productivity.

Following these tips for revving up your work zone can help make your transition back more seamless and help the after-effects of your time off last longer, maybe even until your next vacation time.

Copyright, Cecile Peterkin. All rights reserved.

Author's Bio: 

Cecile Peterkin, Founder and Senior Career Strategist at Cosmic Coaching Centre, provides career and life management services for middle managers and mid-career professionals across Canada, United States and Europe. Download your FR-EE copy of our Career Guidance E-Book at: .Leverage the mind-share of retiring Baby Boomers and senior managers. Visit for articles on workplace mentoring.