How to return to work after a summer vacation?

How to return to work after a summer vacation?

Once again a summer has come and gone. I hope you had a good summer?

Most of us are returning to work after a summer vacation. Even though I love my job, I was feeling really bummed out that the summer is over.

Some might not even have had the opportunity to have a vacation during summer. This is one of the most detrimental flaws of the academic working culture. But I’m not going to go into that in this post. You can read more about recovery and why it’s important from here or listen to my podcast episode on recovery here.

What I’m going to talk about is, how it feels to come back from vacation and how to make sure you have a good return to work.

How are you coming back from your vacation?

Do you feel excited to get back to work? Do you feel like you’ve rested enough and that you are ready to tackle your work challenges? Or are you happy to get back to work to get some rest from your family? If you recognize yourself in these scenarios, you’ve probably had a good vacation and recovered enough.

But some might not feel like going back to work or might feel like they could have had a few extra weeks of vacation. These scenarios are also totally ok. They are not automatically a sign of poor work motivation or of not being engaged in one’s work. They are, however, often a sign of one of the following:

  • The vacation has done it’s work and you have recovered properly. You’re engaged in vacation mode and are therefore feeling the need to continue your vacation. You’ve done something meaningful during your vacation, that you’d like to continue doing. Savor this feeling and enjoy it as long as you can. Try to continue some part of your vacation activities also outside of the vacation.
  • The vacation was not enough to recovery physically and mentally from the strain caused by work (or changes in you personal life). You haven’t focused on recovery during the work weeks, but left all recovery for your vacation. This is not enough to help your body and mind to recover, leaving you fatigued. Or you might not have been able to take more than one week off from work. Listen to your body: are you tired, anxious or sad? If yes, then you need to rest.

How to shift from vacation mode to work mode?

The best way to come back from your holiday is the same way you should always leave for your holiday, slowly but surely. Have a soft landing. Take a lot of breaks and make a plan of what you’re going to do next week, next month or during the fall. Make sure you have something fun ahead of you also.

If you recognize yourself in the second bullet point above, you might need to do some soul searching. Figure out what you need to change in order for you to recover better during the non-vacation time of the year. Listen to what kind of feelings work elicits in you. Think about what you need, and how you could help yourself achieve it.

I hope that you have a nice return to work!


One thought on “How to return to work after a summer vacation?

  1. What are you looking forward to? - PhD Pathfinder

    […] that lies ahead. Coming back from the summer holidays is not always easy, as I wrote in a previous blog post. But once the dust has settled you could ask yourself three […]

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